A protest has taken place outside a Bristol police station after eight people were held by the UK Border Authority (UKBA).
Campaigners gathered at Trinity Road station yesterday evening to protest about the treatment of the eight, who had attended the station earlier in the morning to register as usual.
Between 20 and 30 people gathered, with speeches made and music played from 5.30pm.
One protester, named as Esam Amin, said on the Asylum Seekers in Bristol website: “Today I was in the police station to sign for UKBA as I do every week. I left the police station and returned to the drop-in centre for asylum seekers to do my duty as a chef.
“Later one of my friend told me that eight people been detained and she said that two of them are asylum seekers but has no details about the others.
“I am really feeling sad. Because still Bristol is City of Sanctuary but is not safe for the asylum seeker. We are feeling unsafe, nervous and stressed when we go to sign at police station.
“In my opinion, UKBA does not listen to us and so we need to work hard for human rights of asylum seeker, we need asylum seekers to get organised, we need existing organisations to support us and we need everyone to learn more about asylum seekers, ask me questions.
“We want to have our dignity back, which UKBA and Home Office want to scrap. They don’t want to listen. They want to carry on with the process of detaining asylum seekers.”
Last year, Zimbabwean Khethiwe Mashavave was taken into detention and threatened with deportation at Trinity Road station – despite making her home in the city for 10 years.
She had been an outspoken critic of president Robert Mugabe, but won a reprieve after a campaign which gained support of local MPs and councillors won her freedom to remain in the UK.
Ms Mashavave had joined councillors and MPs earlier in 2011 to celebrate Bristol receiving its official City of Sanctuary status for refugees.