Women held at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre were given a voice during a weekend protest outside the controversial site.
Crowds marched around the high rise fences with placards calling for the closure of the under fire centre.
Women inside the prison-like base in Milton Ernest, near Bedford, also got to have their say on Saturday, speaking via phone which was placed against a loud speaker for all to hear.
Among the protestors was 25 year old Izzy Kershaw, a volunteer with campaign group Women for Refugee Woman, who has previously visited those inside the institution.
She said of the protest: “It was a really amazing atmosphere. There was a lot of singing and chanting.
“Although people were angry and upset it wasn’t an aggressive atmosphere, it was incredibly supportive.
“It was great to see such a diverse mixture of people there who had come out in support. There were elderly couples with their dogs, young people and children. It was just a really great show of support.
“The emphasis of the protest was to show the women that there are people that care about then and we know they are there and that they are still visible to us, even though they must feel incredibly invisible.” The women inside, who had made their own signs with powerful statement such as ‘we are not animals’, were seen waving to the protestors from their partially opened windows.
“It is really upsetting to see those images but at the same time we were waving at each other so they felt that they were being supported. “Being able to make that connection with the women inside was so important.
“It was a powerful and moving day.”
The protest was organised by Movement for Justice and was support by Women for Refugee Women - both organisations are calling for Yarl’s Wood to be shut down.