[Pnews] Hunger Strike Begins at Northwest Detention Center with Dozens Refusing Meals

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 12 17:54:48 EST 2018


December 11, 2018

Contact: Andrea Marcos, andrea.emily.marcos at gmail.com 
<mailto:andrea.emily.marcos at gmail.com>

Maru Mora Villalpando, maru at latinoadvocacy.org 
<mailto:maru at latinoadvocacy.org>206 251 6658

Hunger Strike Begins at Northwest Detention Center with Dozens Refusing 
Meals

Detained immigrants renew call for medical attention; decry GEO Group 
guards’ racism


Tacoma, WA -- On Tuesday, December 11, up to 40 immigrants detained at 
the now infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma began refusing 
meals, initiating a hunger strike in protest of the conditions they 
face. One detained activist listed the group’s demands as follows: “I am 
part of a group of detainees that are going to go on hunger strike as 
the only way to protest and shine a light on the abuses that we suffer 
here. We are going on strike because: 1) the abuse of the NWDC Director; 
2) The abuse of the guards; 3) The lack of medical attention; 4) the bad 
food; 5) the salary of a $1 per day; and 6) that they rob our property.” 
This strike is the latest in a series of strikes protesting conditions 
inside the facility; the most recent mass strike began on August 21 in 
conjunction with a national prison strike.


This December strike follows the November 24th death of Amar Mergensana, 
who participated in the August strike and was hospitalized following 86 
days of refusing meals. Though Mr. Mergensana asked for medical 
treatment repeatedly in the days before he was sent to St. Joseph’s, his 
requests were ignored. His death follows a pattern 
<https://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/sites/default/files/reports/Fatal%20Neglect%20ACLU-DWN-NIJC.pdf>of 
abuse, violence, callousness and death of detainees in ICE and GEO Group 
custody. One person currently on hunger strike reports that denial of 
medical care continue, with a fellow detained person brought to tears in 
his cell from pain and vomiting. The activist reports that “I don’t know 
what happened to him because they took him out of the pod and placed him 
in solitary [confinement].” NWDC Resistance member Maru Mora Villalpando 
responded, “Rather than provide adequate medical care to detained 
immigrants, GEO Group and ICE are placing them in solitary confinement. 
They have proven themselves incapable of providing even the most basic 
medical care to people detained.” The multiple outbreaks of mumps and 
varicella in 2018 further point to the dangerous conditions for those 
detained.


Detained hunger-strikers also decry the NWDC director and guards’ overt 
racism, reporting that they feel threatened. One activist reports that 
the guards often “act like their fingers are guns and pretend to shoot 
us.” These small acts carry weight in an immigration prison where armed 
guards have the power to confiscate food, clothes, and personal belongings.


NWDC Resistance invites Tacoma residents to support detained activists 
at a vigil today, December 11 at 8:00pm, calling on GEO Group not to 
retaliate with the use of solitary confinement, threats of force 
feeding, or otherwise violating detainees’ free speech rights. Likewise, 
the group renews our call to Governor Jay Inslee to visit people 
detained in his state and hear their concerns first-hand. “If the City 
of Tacoma and State of Washington governments fail to take action, we 
fear that detained immigrants will continue to suffer unjust and deadly 
conditions,” concluded NWDC Resistance member Andrea Marcos.


For live updates, visithttps://www.facebook.com/NWDCResistance/.


###

NWDC Resistanceis a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants 
and U.S. citizens located in Tacoma, Washington. It is an unincorporated 
association formed for the purposes of confronting human rights 
violations at the Northwest Detention Center and dedicated to ending the 
detention and deportation of immigrants.<http://www.nwdcresistance.org/>


www.nwdcresistance.org <http://www.nwdcresistance.org/>



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