Dozens of detainees at one of the Home Office’s largest immigration removal centres staged a protest during a power outage in the early hours of Saturday morning.
According to reports, about 100 people at the Harmondsworth facility in west London protested in the exercise yard. It is thought that a prolonged power cut, which left the centre without power for up to 24 hours, triggered the protest. No injuries were reported at the scene.
About 100 people were due to be moved out of the centre to make way for new arrivals from the troubled and overcrowded centre at Manston, but this process had to be put on hold while Home Office contractors and emergency services dealt with the protest.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “There has been a power outage at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, and work is currently under way to resolve this issue. We are aware of a disturbance at the centre and the appropriate authorities have been notified and are on scene. The welfare and safety of staff and individuals detained at Harmondsworth is our key priority.”
Home Office sources said people being moved to alternative locations from Harmondsworth would not be put in hotels and would not be immediately released or bailed where there is no proven fixed abode.
More details soon …