Yarls Wood Protest

9 February 2010, 05:13 | Updated: 9 February 2010, 05:40

Staff at the Yarl's Wood Detention centre have spent the night talking to 43 women - protesting at the time it's taking for their cases to be reviewed.

Several went on hunger strike on Friday - and were denied water for several hours yesterday when 26 of them were seperated into a secure corridor.

Nigerian born Gladys was one of the protestors, and has been waiting for a decision about her future - for 5 months.  She said: "Some people have been here for over four years without any decision.  So we're asking immigration to give us a time limit, because we're not serving prison sentences or life sentences here.

"We decided to go on hunger strike.  We're not fighting anyone or making any noise, we've just said we're not eating."

David Wood, Strategic Director of Criminality and Detention Group, UKBA said:  "Around 40 women at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre are protesting against their detention and have been separated from other detainees, while staff try to resolve concerns raised by these individuals.

"The well-being of detainees is of paramount concernto the UK Border Agency, which is why healthcare staff are at the scene to monitor developments. The detainees will be integrated back into the centre at the earliest opportunity.

"All detainees are treated with dignity and respect, with access to legal advice and heath care facilities. We only remove those who both the UKBA and the independent courts deem to have no legal right to be here."

Meanwhile a statement from Bedfordshire Police said: "Bedfordshire Police were called by staff at Yarlswood Immigration Detention Centre at 1.30pm  (Monday 8 Feb) following reports of minor disorder involving a small number of detainees.

The police helicopter flew over the area at lunchtime for assessment purposes but has since left.

As of 2pm (Monday) all detainees were described as calm and talking with Yarlswood staff to address their concerns. The incident is completely contained within the compound. Police officers, including dog units, are on stand by outside the perimeter fence of the compound and will not be involved unless requested directly."