Protesters to hold vigil against ‘shocking conditions’ at migrant processing centre


    Protesters will this evening hold a vigil outside a migrant processing centre in Kent. They have deployed the “shocking conditions” at the Manston Airport detention centre in southeastern England.

    The site is understood to be equipped to process between 1,000 and 1,600 at a time, with the Home Office last week noting: “The aim was to run a site that had [around this number of] people passing through it every day, and that all of those checks would be completed in under 24 hours.

    “For a large part of this year, that is exactly how it was operating.”

    It has, however, now become “overwhelmed”, according to local Tory MP Roger Gale.

    He claimed there are around 4,000 migrants at Manston.

    An official inspection of the centre earlier this year found that the length of detention was “far too long” for many.

    It also criticised the condition of the site’s facilities, including the baby changing facility, located in a “dirty mobile toilet”, and “a lack of trained Mitie staff to supervise other marquees [which] meant that adult males were crowded into a single facility and exhausted detainees slept on floor mats between the rows of chairs”.

    Members of the Thanet Left Bulletin (TLB) will this evening hold a vigil outside the camp, which they believe should be closed down.

    Transport Secretary Mark Harper today told Sky News that work was underway to move migrants out of the site and into better conditions.

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    It asked members of the public to “join us in a vigil outside”.

    By 11.30am today, 22 people responded to TLB’s event page saying they were going, and a further 42 said they were interested in attending.

    This year, a record number of small boat Channel crossings to the UK have taken place, with the figure already resting just under 40,000.

    In 2021, the figure was below 30,000. Not even 8,500 crossed the Channel to the UK in 2020.

    Mr Harper said that in order to improve the situation, more cooperation was needed between London and Paris.

    He told Sky News: “I think both countries, Britain and France, could do more. What we need to do is work with the French, they do a lot already. We provide resources to help them and, of course, people will know our border controls in France are actually physically located in France, and we’ve always worked in close partnership with French authorities.

    “Do we think they could do more? Yes. We could do more as well. It’s about improving that partnership.”


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