Asylum seeker centre fights break out often between migrants
Asylum seeker centre fights break out almost every night between migrants of different nationalities as chairs are thrown and minibuses smashed in
- READ: Asylum seekers at refurbished army barracks protest ‘prison’ conditions
Fights at a centre for Asylum seekers break out almost every night between migrants of different nationalities, a migrant has told.
Video footage reportedly shows fights erupting between men at the Wethersfield asylum centre in north Essex – with chairs thrown and one man suffering a bloodied face.
An anonymous asylum seeker said the centre on the former military base ‘has many, many problems’, adding that ‘no one on the camp is feeling safe’.
It comes after migrants housed at the centre staged a recent protest over ‘its ‘prison-like’ conditions, complaining they were freezing due to poor clothing and bedding and didn’t have access to doctors.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Fighting and any forms of vandalism at Wethersfield are totally unacceptable.’
Scuffles between different migrant groups are a regular occurrence, an asylum seeker at Wethersfield said
The asylum seeker said the centre on the former military base ‘has many, many problems’, adding that ‘no one on the camp is feeling safe’
A government source said there has been a small number of incidents.
The asylum seeker told the BBC there has been ‘almost nightly fighting with another nationality, because the number of people is many’.
A few of the minibuses transporting the migrants to the nearby centres of Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford have allegedly had their windows smashed and damaged on the base.
The Home office said it will continue to ‘work closely with our provider to ensure people behave appropriately on site’.
A spokesperson added: ‘The safety of individuals remains our utmost priority.’
Asylum seekers started being housed on the large Wethersfield site in July.
The reports of fighting come after migrants billeted at the former military base held a protest last month over the ‘prison-like’ conditions.
About 40 men demonstrated outside MDP Wethersfield in Essex, complaining they didn’t have access to doctors, were freezing and unable to contact their families.
They noisily chanted ‘Wrong plan, wrong place’ and ‘It’s like a prison’ during the protest.
Last month about 40 men demonstrated outside MDP Wethersfield in Essex over their living conditions
The Wethersfield asylum seekers said the base is ‘like a prison’ during the last month’s protest
READ MORE: Asylum seekers housed at refurbished army barracks protest over ‘prison-like’ conditions – saying it’s ‘too cold’ and doesn’t have the internet
Braintree District Council did not manage to stop the Home Office from using the former military base to house up to 1,700 single male asylum seekers.
The plan was furiously opposed by residents and Braintree District Council challenged the site at a judicial review, arguing it is not suitable.
Earlier last month the High Court said it was reserving its judgement until a later date, following a two-day hearing.
Local resident and campaigner David Price, who runs Wethersfield Protest, told the BBC one man had complained to him: ‘It’s too cold. We can’t live there. We don’t have anything, we don’t have internet.’
The man had not been able to speak to his family for four months, he said, adding many of the protesters had rashes on their bodies.
Blake Temperley, who lives nearby, said the men had called for access to doctors.
She added: ‘They said it felt like a prison. It’s freezing and they haven’t got the right clothing. Some were wearing flip flops.’
The road to the base was blocked during the protest, which started in the morning and ended at about 12.30pm, according to Essex Police.
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