‘Shut Manston down’ – hundreds protest outside migrant centre in pouring rain

Charlotte Wilkins reports from Manston. She spoke to protestors and local resident Charlotte Taylor.

Hundreds of people have staged a protest in the pouring rain outside Manston detention centre demanding it is shut down.

Action Against Detention And Deportation demonstrators chanted and banged metal pots outside the Kent base, which has been at the centre of the immigration crisis this week after it became dangerously overcrowded.

People in the umbrella-clad crowd shouted “shut Manston down”, while some unfurled a banner reading: “The enemy doesn’t arrive by boat, he arrives by limousine”.

Protesters outside the Manston immigration short-term holding facility in Thanet, Kent. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Several people raised placards reading “no-one is illegal”, “refugees welcome” and “Braverman out now”.

Videos posted online by protesters showed what appeared to be a mother, father and their baby waving at them from inside the facility.

It comes after it was revealed the former military base, which opened as a processing centre in February intending to hold a maximum of 1,600 people for 24 hours at a time, was housing around 4,000 for weeks on end.

A man thought to be a migrant at the window of the Manston immigration short-term holding facility during a protest outside Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Some asylum seekers described the conditions inside as being like “a prison” and begged for help.

On Wednesday, a young girl threw a bottle containing a letter, which said there were pregnant women and sick detainees inside the centre, over the perimeter fence to a PA news agency photographer.

By Friday, Downing Street said the number of people at Manston had fallen to 2,600, with 1,200 removed from the site within the previous four days.