“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” Report Back from End Immigration Detention Rally at Lindsay Jail

Rally at Central East Correctional Centre

“Freedom! Freedom Freedom!” chanted the entire immigration wing at Lindsay prison, joining the chorus of song coming from the solidarity rally outside. Guards rushed to peer at us through the windows and were shocked to find almost two hundred protesters gathered across the fence in the bitter cold.

Three busloads of families and supporters of immigration detainees drove hours through snow squalls and were joined by many more residents of the Lindsay and Peterborough area to protest immigration detention. Many of the immigration detainees were on their third day of a ‘hunger-fast’ to coincide with the rally outside and to demand an end to indefinite detention and maximum security holds, an overhaul of the adjudication process, and the implementation of a 90-day limit to detention pending deportation as per international conventions.

“Jailing migrants for no crime but that of being born elsewhere is unjust, and indefensible!” says End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) member Tings Chak, at the rally in Christie Pits Park before leaving for Lindsay. “Jailing people indefinitely, with no end in sight is utterly inhumane.”On September 17th, nearly 200 migrant detainees in Lindsay jail began protest actions which have captured widespread attention. Detainees have gone on hunger strike (2 of them for 65 days), refused to enter their cells, boycotted their detention reviews, and organized other political actions. In retaliation, immigration enforcement has deported some key strike organizers, moved others into prisons across Ontario, and locked up hunger strikers in segregation. Yet, strike actions are continuing.

“We are here to insist that immigration detention in maximum security prisons and indefinite immigration detention will no longer continue in silence,” EIDN member Mina Ramos said to cheers as detainees could be heard banging on their walls. “Harper is stealing status from migrant families, while building bigger and prisons where we can be locked away.”

A full hour after we left the inspiring demonstration outside the Central East Correctional Centre, we received a call from a detainee, a man from Liberia who has lived in Canada for 20 years. The background noise was deafening, and when asked what was happening inside, he responded, “They’ve been yelling freedom in unison for hours.” It took a few more moments over the poor prison phone connection until we could hear the reverberation of “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!”

For us on the outside, it was humbling to know how meaningful it is to simply bring our voices to say, “We hear you.” With every word yelled, and every person on the outside spreading the struggle to end immigration detention, these prison walls get a little weaker. Until we are all free!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OawrCCC-EI

See the full list of demands: https://endimmigrationdetention.com/support-the-demands/

Join the growing list of endorsers that includes Naomi Klein, John Greyson, Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Law Union of Ontario, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Public Services Alliance of Canada – Ontario and Shit Harper Did visit us at http://www.endimmigrationdetention.com

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