545 Took part in Freedom Fast

International Women’s Day saw 545 of us Fasting for Freedom; taking a step further to resist with those in hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood and everyone who faces the weight of the immigration system at the hands of this government’s hostile environment agenda.

Jump to summary of the day

People in Yarl’s Wood started their Hunger Strike 17 days ago on the 21st February, their demands are yet to be met, and their protest is still ongoing.

We hope that those who are still hunger striking in Yarl’s Wood are safe. Hunger strike or not, we will continue to support them until the Home Office acts on their demands. And we will continue to organise and grow our movement for racial and migrant justice.

Fasting for a day cannot come close to understanding the experiences of detainees, nor the desperation and strength that would lead one to sustain a hunger strike for this long.

We hope that our act of fasting is a personal and spiritual reflection of the responsibility that we have as members of this society. And we hope that it can bring us a step closer to becoming a stronger force that dismantles racism and the worrying spread of border controls to every area of our lives.

We will be in touch as events continue to unfold. In the meantime, please find below a summary of what happened yesterday and some useful information.

Organisations to follow:

Freedom Fast team!

How the day unfolded:

A message from hunger strikers at Yarl’s Wood

Yesterday 8th March, we woke up to a message from those inside Yarl’s Wood, a fierce plea for freedom:

“We wish we could be celebrating with you on this day, but we are not free to do so… We women here in Yarl’s Wood did not anticipate our freedom would be taken from us or the impact it would have. We are on a hunger strike because we are suffering unfair imprisonment and racist abuse in this archaic institution in Britain. This is a desperate measure due to desperate circumstances. We feel voiceless, forgotten and ignored.”

Vigils across the UK

Here are a few photos from some of the events.

In Leeds people congregated at the Parkinson Steps:


In Glasgow they united against detention:

Vigil in Glasgow

In London
People sang for freedom led by @nawicollective:

and said in unison “Amber Rudd you are no sister”

They also read the Hunger Striker’s demands

Demands in London

And took part in a ecumenical ritual for freedom and justice for those in detention led by a member of @londonlatinxs:

Ritual in London

In Manchester they chanted ‘No Human is Illegal”:

Manchester HungerForFreedom

And in Bristol they called #ShutdownYarlsWood

Bristol ShutDownYarlsWood

Hundreds of #HungerForFreedom and Freedom Fast tweets:

And they keep coming, here’s a small sample:

And many articles were published online:

With mentions of the Freedom Fast, including:

“Nobody is free, until everybody is free” – Fannie Lou Hamer