Hundreds of people staged a protest in the pouring rain outside Manston Detention Center to demand its closure.
Detention and Deportation Action protesters chanted and banged metal pots outside the base in Kent, which has been at the center of the immigration crisis this week after it became dangerously overcrowded.
People in the umbrella-clad crowd shouted ‘shut down Manston’, while some unfurled a banner which read: ‘The enemy is not coming by boat, he is coming by limo’.
Several people held up signs 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.
Benny Hunter, 29, an educator from Lewisham, told the PA news agency he attended the protest in Manston to ‘demand the camp be closed’.
He said: “We have come together in Actions Against Detention and Deportation to show our solidarity with those illegally detained inside the Manston camp.
“We went there to demand the closure of the camp – and all other immigration detentions.
“Women, men and children are being held in appalling conditions when they could rather be in the community.
“Migration is a fact of life and always has been. We want anyone who comes to the UK looking for sanctuary to feel welcome and supported to rebuild their life here.
Mr Hunter said it was ‘horrifying to see children and babies behind barbed wire fences for no reason other than their immigration status’.
“I can’t imagine the trauma of being detained, without a warrant, without having committed a crime, without knowing when you will be released,” he added.
“These families came to save themselves and they were treated in such a brutal way.”
It comes after the former military base, which opened in February as a treatment center with the intention of holding a maximum of 1,600 people for 24 hours at a time, was revealed to be home to some about 4,000 for weeks.
Some asylum seekers described conditions inside as “prison-like” and asked for help.
A young girl on Wednesday threw a bottle containing a letter saying there were pregnant women and sick inmates inside the center over the perimeter fence at a photographer from the state news agency. ‘AP.
On Friday, Downing Street said the number of people in Manston had fallen to 2,600, of whom 1,200 had been removed from the site in the previous four days.