Activists hack Tube adverts for International Migrants Day
Queer activist group, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, hacked hundreds of Tube adverts in central London today (Tuesday 18 December) for International Migrants Day.
The group replaced 200 ads on the Piccadilly, Victoria and Central lines with instructions on how passengers can stop deportations on commercial airlines.
“See it, Say it, Stop it” – a nod to TFL’s “See it, Say it, Sorted” – is a campaign protesting the government’s brutal practice of deporting migrants on commercial flights. The posters show how ordinary people can help stop these deportations if they suspect someone is being deported on their flight. The ad shows three panels; a passenger who notices a deportation taking place speaks to the person being detained and responds by refusing to take their seat on the plane. Activists also handed out leaflets to travellers at Heathrow and en route to other airports.
When Swedish student Elin Errson refused to take her seat on a flight leaving from Gothenburg airport in July, she successfully stopped the deportation of an Afghan man. Inspired by this and similar actions, the campaign will empower more people to recognise when a deportation is taking place and provide them with the steps to they need to stop it.
Last year, activists from LGSMigrants and other groups made headlines by grounding a charter deportation flight from Stansted airport. The government continues to charter planes specifically to deport groups of vulnerable migrants, but also deports individuals on commercial passenger flights. This ad hack aims to equip us all with the power to take individual action as part of a much wider movement.
After pressure from LGSMigrants and others, Virgin Atlantic cancelled their contract for deportations with the Home Office. Now the group are calling on British Airways and other airlines to follow suit. Commuters are encouraged to go on the LGSMigrants website to find out more about the campaign and to tweet British Airways with their outrage.
British Airways has been responsible for carrying countless deportees. Five years ago, an Angolan passenger, Jimmy Mubenga, died on one such deportation flight carried out by BA.
Sam Björn, a spokesperson for LGSMigrants, says “Often when we are confronted with situations where we see vulnerable people falling victim to an abusive system we feel powerless to help. We want to change that. We aim to build a movement to resist this brutal, racist practice of secretive deportations and the hostile environment as a whole. We hope to empower everyone to take a stand and refuse to sit in silence.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
For further comments, please contact Sam Björn on firstname.lastname@example.org.
High resolution images are available to download here.
Demonstrations are taking place in cities across the UK for International Migrants Day.
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants are a group of queer activists who stand in solidarity with all migrants and refugees. Through fundraising and creative direct action, they fight back against the hostile environment and reject racist narratives that pit queer communities and migrants against one another. Inspired by the 1980s group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, made famous by the film Pride, they build on a proud history of queer solidarity to say: no one is illegal. See www.lgsmigrants.com for more information. Twitter: @lgsmigrants ; www.facebook.com/lgsmigrants