Asylum seekers punch each other and throw chairs at ex-RAF base

Moment asylum seekers punch each other and throw chairs as fight breaks out in canteen at ex RAF base housing more than 400 migrants

  • READ MORE: Asylum seeker centre fights break out almost every night
  • READ MORE: Asylum seekers housed at refurbished army barracks protest over ‘prison-like’ conditions

Violence has broken out between a number of asylum seekers living in a former military base.

Video footage shows violence erupting between a number of men, with punches and chairs being thrown in the canteen of the ex-RAF Wethersfield base in Essex.  

Some can be seen trying to break up the fight while others watch on. 

It comes one week after reports from an asylum seeker who told the BBC there has been ‘nightly fighting’ at the base.

The first migrants arrived at the airfield in July and it currently holds 430 people, with plans for up to 1,700 at the site. 

Pictures inside showed bedrooms complete with en-suites, a large canteen, a fully equipped gym and an indoor sports court. 

But asylum seekers housed at the centre recently staged a protest over the ‘prison-like’ conditions at the base, complaining they didn’t have access to doctors, were freezing due to poor clothing and bedding and were unable to contact their families.

Now, an asylum seeker has told ITV News he feels unsafe living in the former MoD base because of regular fights breaking out between groups of people from different countries.

The footage shows violence erupting between a number of men, with punches and chairs being thrown in the canteen of the ex-RAF Wethersfield base in Essex

Some men could be seen trying to break up the fight while others watched on

The asylum seeker speaking to ITV News said life inside the base was ‘dangerous’ with fighting taking place most nights

The RAF base is the UK’s largest asylum accommodation centre. Pictured is an accommodation block

The 19-year-old from Iran spoke to ITV News and said: ‘Inside the camp – dangerous because most nights fighting another nationality, another language, another people.

‘There is security, but they can’t control because (there are) many people inside here.

‘(There is) no safety. I am scared in here, (it’s) dangerous.’

Another source who has access to asylum seekers at the base told ITV News they have been made aware of ‘numerous fights’ and ‘disagreements’ and witnessed cuts and bruises sustained from fights.

One person’s injuries were ‘so bad’ they had to be taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford to have stitches, according to ITV News.

The site is manned 24/7. Pictured is the building that houses the dining room 

Around 1,700 migrants will be housed at the RAF base. Pictured is one of the bedrooms

 Pictured is the canteen inside the base

Pictured is an en-suite included with a bedroom at the asylum accommodation centre

A Home Office spokesperson previously said: ‘Fighting and any forms of vandalism at Wethersfield are totally unacceptable.’

The plan to house asylum seekers at the barracks was opposed by residents and Braintree District Council has challenged the site at a judicial review, arguing it is not suitable. 

In November, the High Court said it was reserving its judgement until a later date, following a two-day hearing.

Fights between different migrant groups are a regular occurrence, an asylum seeker at Wethersfield told the BBC

Plans for migrant detention centres at Wethersfield, the former RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire where the Dambusters and Red Arrows used to be based, and a floating hotel, Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset, were unveiled earlier this year. 

West Lyndsey District Council slapped a temporary stop notice on the Home Office in September, arguing work to prepare the site – including moving in accommodation blocks to house up to 2,000 people – had broken rules about listed buildings and archaeology. 

Use of the three-storey barge were delayed because of health and safety issues. The vessel, which has a capacity for up to 500 people, was evacuated in August after the Legionella bacteria was found in the water supply. 

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