Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Nine charged after demonstration

Tinsley House
One of the protesters described immigration policy as "macabre"

Nine people have been charged with aggravated trespass after a protest at an immigration removal centre.

The protest was held at Tinsley House in Gatwick Airport, West Sussex, in opposition to the deportation of Kurdish Iraqi refugees.

Four men and five women from the London area, were arrested by police shortly after 0715 GMT on Tuesday.

The nine are scheduled to appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court in West Sussex on 30 March.

The demonstrators said a charter flight had been due to fly from Stansted Airport to Northern Iraq on Tuesday.

Speaking on Tuesday, Brian Arcola, who was taking part in the protest, said: "Charter flights like this are the latest step in the government's macabre immigration policy."

He added: "Aside from the ethical implications of handcuffing and deporting innocent people under the threat of the baton, by not telling them when they're going to be deported, they deprive many people from adequate legal representation.

"If there's to be any truth in the claim that Britain is a tolerant, fair country, this has got to be stopped."

A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said it was aware of the protest but the issue was a police matter.

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