Glasgow & West Scotland

Hundreds join Dungavel detention centre protest

Dungavel protesters Image copyright We Will Rise

Hundreds of campaigners have joined a protest outside a detention centre calling for it to be shut down.

Pressure group, We Will Rise, organised the demonstration and members branded Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre "racist and inhumane".

Protesters, including former detainees, asylum seekers and refugees, surrounded the centre near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire.

The Home Office said detention was part of a "firm but fair" system.

They chanted "shut down Dungavel" and held up banners reading "no one is illegal".

Former Dungavel detainee, Sally Martinez, told the crowd: "We believe we can end detention in Scotland. To see so many people here is really inspiring. The costs of detention are too great - it has a human cost, a financial cost and a moral cost. Dungavel's time is up."

'Racist and inhumane'

Sonny Adisa, also a former detainee, added: "Not only is the system racist and inhumane, but it's illogical too. Scotland needs immigration, yet it's spending public money on locking people up that could contribute to society."

A Home Office statement said: "Detention is an important part of a firm but fair immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily.

"Decisions to detain individuals are reviewed regularly to ensure they remain justified and reasonable and, if necessary, they can be challenged through the courts.

"We are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect and take the welfare of detainees very seriously."

Dungavel House, which opened in 2001, holds up to 249 detainees and is the only such centre in Scotland.

It is operated under contract to the Home Office by GEO Group Ltd.

The protest was part of a Europe-wide day of action against detention centres.

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