The women who had started a hunger strike on 7th of May in the closed centre in Bruges suspended their action on the 9th of May after strong pressure from the management.
They wanted to meet journalists to denounce their imprisonment and detention conditions. The management told them it was forbidden to speak to journalists for the sake of their ‘security’ and that retaliation would be tough if they defied the authority. They chose to interrupt their action after these threats but they remain very united.
They are very scared of being put into an isolation cell and also of the retaliation measures by the Immigration Office in relation to their personal file, or to a ‘surprise’ deportation; which happens daily in the centre. They are being called by the social assistant who tells them that they have a flight the day after; then they are immediately being isolated in a cell, without being able to warn their lawyer or co-detainees.
A Congolese woman was taken and deported under escort two days ago in total secret. She had an appointment at the Litigation Office that week. Her lawyer was not warned about this new deportation attempt and there was nothing he could do.
A group of activists came on the 8th of May to show their solidarity with the centre, singing Samba and Freedom when they were in the inner courtyard. The detainees were quickly taken back to their rooms, again for ‘security’ reasons as explained to them by the staff. This little demonstration made them really happy. They didn’t know that people from the outside are fighting against these prisons and they were extremely happy to discover it.