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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Exiled islanders put up in hotels
Diego Garcia
Islanders were exiled from Diego Garcia 30 years ago
Thirty people from a remote island in the Indian Ocean who were protesting in West Sussex have been put up in hotels.

The islanders, from Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, had been camping out at Gatwick Airport and campaigning outside council offices in protest at their treatment by the British authorities.

They had wanted to stay in Crawley but were told West Sussex County Council was not responsible for them because they flew into Heathrow.

Now a High Court judge has ordered the council to house the islanders, who all hold British passports, until a judicial review into their future has been completed.

Military base

The Diego Garcians were forced to leave their home in the 1970s when it was taken over by the British government for a British and American military base.

They were exiled to Mauritius, but now high unemployment there has prompted them to travel to Britain.

A London court ruled in 2000 that the islanders' deportation had been illegal and their ultimate aim is to return to Diego Garcia.

Last year 19 islanders flew to Gatwick and were given emergency accommodation in Crawley and the new arrivals wanted to join them.

Islanders camp out at Gatwick
09 Jul 03  |  Southern Counties
Islanders in Diego Garcia stand-off
30 Jun 02  |  Monitoring
The Chagos Islands: A sordid tale
03 Nov 00  |  Politics
Hope for Indian Ocean islanders
24 Aug 00  |  South Asia

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