North West Migrants Forum called a protest for today, the 19th March 2022 at Lifford Bridge in Strabane to say no to a racist border on this island. End Deportations Belfast were honoured to be asked to speak at the rally. For those that couldn’t make it, here is the text of our speech.
“End Deportations Belfast are a group of volunteers based in Belfast who formed in January 2019. One of the first things EDB did was to set up an online portal, in the absence of proper scrutiny of the use of police powers, so we could record instances of racism in the Common Travel Area and in particular on ‘cross-border’ buses and trains.
We are still collecting those testimonies and won’t stop until the practice of interrupting people’s journeys on this island, asking for ID and removing passengers who don’t meet the criteria of ‘looking’ Irish or British enough is consigned to history.
Testimonies continue to arrive with us via our portal. These are quite telling of ongoing discriminatory practices that target specific communities and individuals
These are discriminatory checks with black and brown people visibly targeted for scrutiny when white people aren’t approached, IDs barely glanced at or jovially told they are ‘grand’ by Guards.
Skin colour is the main factor in Gardai checking people and removing them from buses.
White passengers who are unable to present ID or visa from countries for example in North America are not challenged and they are able to continue the journey.
Passengers offering support and advice to people being removed by Gardai have been prevented from doing so for example by a bus driver.
The people removed from these buses have included families with children. The testimonies tell us that these are confusing and traumatising experiences.
We know that these violent and discriminatory practices are part of larger border regimes that operate in this island. We abhor the use of Larne House detention centre in the north and Direct Provision on the island. We stand in solidarity with all the communities resisting these practices.
Today we express our full solidarity to the North West Migrant Forum for organising this day of protest. We fully support their campaign and legislative demands to end border injustice.
Today and always we say:
No to racism.
No to border violence.
We must all share this island.
End Deportations Belfast”
Learn more about the North West Migrants Forum’s CTA campaign: