The Bibby Stockholm is about to sail to Dorset to imprison 500 refugees – join the protest to stop it

Cornwall resists sign against the Bibby Stockholm
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Residents of Cornwall are urgently asking for people to join a protest on the evening of Wednesday 31 May. They are gathering to demonstrate against the Bibby Stockholm, a floating barge which is to detain 500 male asylum seekers. The barge is currently docked for a refit in Falmouth. However, it is due to make its way to Portland port in Dorset on Wednesday night, where it will, effectively, become an offshore prison.

Imprisoned and traumatised by the British state

Cornwall Resists, which is a network of grassroots anti-fascist groups in the county, said:

The Bibby is the first of its kind to be refurbished here, but it won’t be the last. The boat represents the hostile, fascist and illegal approach the Conservative party is taking towards vulnerable people, who have risked everything to flee war and persecution only to be imprisoned and retraumatised by the state.

We will not allow this to happen. We will gather to remember migrants who have died making their way to safety, and Rachid Abdelsalam, who died on board the Bibby Stockholm.

Indeed, Rachid Abdelsalam suffered heart failure and died onboard the barge in 2008, when it was used by the Dutch government to lock up those seeking asylum. Detainees onboard had warned the prison guards of Rachid’s deteriorating health, but the guards only opened his cell door two hours after he had died.

The Dutch government only took the barge out of service after a Dutch media investigation uncovered horrors onboard, including rape, fire safety failings, and abuse by prison staff.

This wasn’t the only death on Dutch prison barges. Diabetic Ahmad Mahmud El Sabah also died on another Rotterdam detention barge after he suffered from an infection of the liver.

Read on...

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None of this has phased Suella Braverman. In fact, the Home Office plans to hire a second barge, which would imprison four times as many people.

Community outrage over the Bibby Stockholm

Cornwall Resists said of the Bibby Stockholm:

We have seen a huge swell of community outrage and resistance to this human rights atrocity. It’s been incredible to see so many groups come together to show resistance to the Bibby Stockholm and to definitively prove that Cornwall Resists border violence!

The group continued:

On Wednesday we will take our place in protest of the use of this boat – and others like it. We must continue to show our collective power in action against the Bibby Stockholm. We must come together as a community in our last chance to show the full force of our resistance, and the strength of our community. We will gather in solidarity with refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and all people who are victims of state oppression. We will give voices to those unable to voice their struggle, we will show the true nature of our communities and we will continue to build on this coalition of amazing organisations fighting for what is right.

See you on the streets.

Join the protest

To join the protest, head to the Bar Road carpark in Falmouth at 5pm on 31 May. Or if you have access to a boat, you can meet fellow protesters on the water.

Cornwall Resists says that it is preparing to “stay the course“. It advises people to bring warm layers, as well as:

banners, candles, blankets, camping chairs, warm layers, noise making devices, your friends and family, flask of hot tea and a picnic.

We can not quietly sit back while the racist Tory government treats Brown and Black people – who have come to the UK in hope of safety and stability – with complete contempt. Together we must continue to resist the Bibby Stockholm, as well as all racist policies of the Tory government.

Featured image via Cornwall Resists

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  • Show Comments
    1. Let’s not kid ourselves: hating migrants is quite popular in Cornwall as in the rest of the UK. Cornwall Resists cannot be reasonably described as representing the people of Cornwall, especially as it is only self-selecting activists who are part of it, and there aren’t many of them. The Tories, Labour and the corporate media do a bang-up job in convincing lots of working class people that the hardships imposed on them by capitalist employers and the government are the fault of (actually quite small numbers of ) migrating poor people. That propaganda needs to be attacked vociferously, or protests by tiny groups will have no effect whatsoever and migrants will continue to be stigmatised and abused. At least Canary and some other sites are doing their best, but far more needs to be done.

    2. “Quite a small number”Over 1 million immigrants in the last 2 years alone.Its comical that the canary thinks Suella Braverman,Rishi Sunak ,Pritti Patel,Kemi Badenoch et al are racists who hate black and brown people.The canary itself is rather racist in the way it largely judges people by their skin colour,certainly more racist than the Sun or Daily Mail for example.

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