Thousands of people are set to descend on Yarl's Wood on Saturday (3 December) demanding the centre to be shut down for good. There are demands that the detention of pregnant women should be stopped, reducing the length of time that people are detained.
The Bedfordshire immigration removal centre – for adult women and adult family groups awaiting immigration clearance – holds nearly 400 detainees but has been under fire from several organisations, according to Bedfordshire News. Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party has called for Yarl's Wood to be closed down at the group's first-ever conference in November.
Sisters Uncut will also be at the demonstration. Janelle Brown, spokesperson for the direct action group told IBTimesUK that they are fighting, "State violence against women in an institution that locks away women for committing no crimes.
"This movement was founded by migrants and has grown massively. There is a hostile climate for migrants and the government is doing absolutely nothing about it."
Organisers of the demonstration, Movement for Justice say that up to 2,000 people are expected at Yarl's Wood. "We will be heading to the back of the centre where detainees will be able to see and hear us calling for the centre to be shut down," Antonia Bright, spokesperson for Movement for Justice told IBTimes UK.
According to the Movement for Justice Facebook page, "In Yarl's Wood 400+ women are indefinitely detained, most of whom have experienced rape, domestic violence, torture, forced marriage, sexual abuse, FGM, persecution due to sexuality. Many of whom have long and deep connections to the UK, have been here most of their lives, have all their family and friends here. Many have children; some are pregnant, elderly, disabled, sick and have mental health difficulties.
"Yarl's Wood has been exposed time after time in undercover investigations, government reports, inspectorate reports, and inquiry findings for sexual abuse/harassment by guards towards the women. Undercover footage by Channel 4 news showed the brutal, racist attitude of the guards.
These demonstrations keep Yarl's Wood on the national agenda, they make it clear that there is only one solution – SHUT IT DOWN!"
The demonstration on Saturday 3 December will be led by asylum seekers and ex-detainees. Over 22 coaches will gather at Yarl's Wood from around the UK including London, Brighton, Nottingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Bristol, Bath and Leeds.
A Channel 4 News investigation revealed questions over healthcare and guards showing contempt for detainees. Staff at Yarl's Wood are filmed referring to the detention centre's as "animals", "beasties" and "bitches".