Hundreds of signs telling passengers how to stop people being deported on flights have appeared on the London Underground.
The ‘See It, Say It, Stop It’ posters – which appeared on the Victoria, Piccadilly and Central lines on Tuesday morning – tell travellers to demand to speak to the pilot if they see someone being deported on a plane.
According to the campaign, they should also speak to the person being removed and “stand up and refuse to sit down” – a move used by anti-deportation activists to prevent planes from being able to take-off.
Activist group Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants said they had replaced 200 adverts on the Tube with the posters as a protest against “the government’s brutal practice of deporting migrants on commercial flights”. Campaigners also handed out leaflets with the same advice at Heathrow Airport.
“Tens of thousands of people are deported every year from Europe,” the group wrote on Twitter.
“Some of these people lived in the UK since they were a child. Many have family and children here. Some are deported before their asylum application has been processed.”
The group is calling on British Airways and other airlines to stop allowing the Home Office to involuntarily deport people on their flights, with Virgin Atlantic having already made the move in June.
Sam Björn, a spokesperson for the campaign, told HuffPost UK that deportation flights “play a crucial role in this government’s brutal and racist treatment of migrants and refugees”.
“Often when we are confronted with situations where we see vulnerable people falling victim to an abusive system we feel powerless to help,” they said in a further statement.
“We aim to build a movement to resist this brutal, racist practice of secretive deportations and the hostile environment as a whole,” Björn added, calling on people to “refuse to sit in silence”.
The action comes just days after a group of campaigners dubbed the ‘Stansted 15’ were convicted over an anti-deportation protest.
In March 2017, the activists locked themselves around a plane at Stansted Airport chartered by the Home Office to deport people to Africa. They have yet to be sentenced.
Responding to the posters on the Tube, a spokesperson for Transport for London said the adverts had not been authorised.
“It is fly posting, which we take extremely seriously,” they said. “We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “When someone has no legal right to remain the UK they should return to their home country.
“We will always help people who wish to leave voluntarily, but when an individual refuses to return to their home country and we are confident that no other approaches will work, then we will seek to enforce their removal.”
Finally, a spokesperson for British Airways said it was a “legal requirement” for airlines to deport people when asked to do so by the Home Office.
“Not fulfilling this obligation amounts to breaking the law,” they said. “Airlines only have the right to refuse deportees on the basis that they feel there is a threat to the safety or security of the aircraft, its passengers or the individual.”
British Airways is not given any personal information about the person being deported, they added, saying that a “full risk assessment” is carried out with the Home Office before the flight.
Transport for London has yet to respond to HuffPost UK’s requests for comment.