BP or not BP? stands in solidarity with the #Stansted15
Fifteen people are on week 8 of a trial in Chelmsford for using non-violent direct action to stop a charter deportation flight. They are a group of activists from End Deportations, Plane Stupid and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants who prevented a secretive flight taking off in March 2017 by chaining themselves to the plane, and lying on the tarmac for over ten hours. The activists knew some of the people on the flight, including a lesbian woman who was being threatened by her ex-husband in Nigeria, a man whose family had been killed by Boko Haram, and two young men who had lived in the UK since they were children.
Charter flights are a particularly secretive, brutal and barely legal part of the Government’s “hostile environment”. This is a really important case with regard to freedom of protest and for highlighting the brutality of the UK’s immigration policy, which will only get more important as climate change kicks in. 11 of the 60 people due to be deported on the flight, remain in the country. These people include women who have escaped sexual slavery and asylum seekers. Two people have since got leave to remain.
To find out more about who the people on the flight were, you can hear some of their stories at www.detainedvoices.com. It was these stories that in part motivated the activists to stop the flight.
The defendants have been charged under terrorism-related legislation, the maximum penalty for which is life imprisonment. There will be chilling implications for civil society and non-violent protest if the Stansted 15 are convicted of this offence.
We believe the Stansted 15 should be applauded, not imprisoned. Their actions almost certainly saved lives, and cast a vital spotlight on deeply unjust practices by the Home Office. We are sending them our love, support and solidarity.
This week there are closing speeches, and the jury is expected to consider its verdict on December 3 or 4.
We encourage you to help the Stansted 15 by:
– attending Chelmsford Crown court and taking your place in the public gallery: http://enddeportations.com/category/court-blog/
– donating to End Deportations: http://enddeportations.com/donate/
– raising awareness and drumming up support by sharing messages from End Deportations on social media