The Stansted 15 are facing trial next week (starting Monday 1st October) for their protest against the immigration system, which successfully delayed the departure of a deportation charter flight. It is refreshing, after the widespread and justified mainstream outrage about the Windrush scandal, to see genuinely effective actions to end deportations. In this case, some people who would have been forced onto the flight have able to stay in the UK because of the action, giving them more time to have their applications heard. Plan C is publishing this solidarity statement because we fully support the Stansted 15 in their upcoming trial, and we encourage friends to also show their support in whatever way they can.
In March 2017, 15 people grounded a secretive deportation flight at Stansted airport for ten hours, preventing it taking off. The flight was chartered by the Home Office to deport around 50 asylum seekers to Nigeria and Ghana.
Many of those on the flight still had pending asylum cases, and were simply snatched from their communities and homes based on their perceived nationality to fill seats on the flight. Even those whose cases had fallen faced indisputable inhumanity from the Home Office. Among them were people such as a lesbian Nigerian woman who was aware that her ex-husband knew of her planned deportation and planned on killing her on her return.
For their brave act of humanity and kindness, those who grounded the flight are now facing terror-related charges. This is clearly a politically motivated attempt by the Government to further its ‘hostile environment for migrants’. An environment they wish to further instil by criminalising those who dare to stand up to them and expose the racism and brutality of their current treatment of migrants.
Their trial begins on October 1st 2018 and is scheduled to run for six weeks. We encourage Plan C members and other comrades to show active solidarity with the defendants through attending the demo on the opening day at 8:30am outside Chelmsford Crown Court, supporting them in court throughout the trial or donating to help the defendants cover their living costs during the trial.
We offer our full solidarity to all the defendants as their freedom is placed on the line for simply defending the freedom of others. Anything short of a full acquittal of all the defendants will be a further act of injustice.
Plan C London
Plan C Essex
Plan C Brighton
Plan C Birmingham
Plan C Cambridge
Plan C Leeds
Plan C Climate Cluster
[Image courtesy of Strike Films]