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Family members and protesters confront Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in support of immigrant detainees on hunger strike.

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On Tuesday October 8th, families of immigration detainees on strike and dozens of supporters confronted Thomas Chanzy, Chief of Staff for Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services in Toronto. Protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits and tied in chains held out empty food plates and delivered a petition signed by over 1,200 people, demanding an end to cruel prison conditions and indefinite immigration detention.

Supporters gathered at Yonge and College, held up signs and handed out flyers as downtown workers stared at the orange jumpsuits. Together with those in chains, we marched up to Madeleine Meilleur’s office at 25 Grosvenor Street, where after initially entering the building we were refused permission to deliver the petition to the office. Representatives spoke out loud and clear against prison conditions and indefinite detention in support of nearly 200 immigration detainees who have been on strike since September 17. Shortly after, the Minister’s Chief of Staff and another staff member appeared to receive the petition. They were grilled on the Minister’s refusal to make a statement, other than to deny that a whole prison under her jurisdiction was on strike. The mother of one of the detainees was present to personally confront the spin doctors about the treatment of her son.

We returned to flyer at the main intersection and many passersby stopped to hear what was going on and offer their support.

Today we saw powerful solidarity actions across the province, demanding that this migrant strike be televised and the voices of those inside heard even louder.. The campaign continues and will only get bigger and stronger.

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No Detentions! No Deportations!