Last Saturday, July the 15th, at 16:25 pm, a flight from Barcelona to Dakar (Senegal) was cancelled after a protest on-board by a group of passengers when they saw a man desperately screaming in the back of the plane. Among the passengers, it was said that it could be a person being deported to Senegal, held on the last seats of the plan, handcuffed and escorted by two men.
Several passengers required Vueling to confirm this information, never reported during the purchase of the ticket. There were 172 passengers scheduled to depart on low-cost airline flight VY7888 from Catalonia to Senegal. “I don’t want to go back, I am ill”, yelled the deported, according to Vélez, one of the passengers that were expelled.
A press release published by the campaign #YouLoveFlying (Te Gusta Viajar in Spanish) states that people started to oppose to travelling with a person with a situation of extreme anguish, and with a clear violation of basic human rights. Cabin crew explained that a deportation was a common thing and asked everybody to remain seated. At this moment, the flight was delayed, and finally the commander ended up asking the passengers to leave the flight after the National Police came in.
When the passengers were off the plane, two police men disguised as if they were civilians randomly chose six people who were banned to get back into the plane. After that, 5 more people already going on-board were also discarded by the commander, apparently, because they had also rioted inside the plane. In total, 11 passengers were ejected from the Vueling flight. The deported person was still sobbing and anxiously screaming, this time, also into the plane.
In this sense, more than 1.500 non-profit organisations, groups and individuals have supported these 11 people. Many collectives denounce the recurrence of these practices. Among them, we can find Lafede.cat, CIEMEN, Stop Mare Mortum and the Human Rights Catalan Institute. The Spanish campaign to close detention centres for immigrants and stop deportations informs about an agreement signed worth 12 public million euro with Air Europa, Swift Air during 2013 and 2016 and with Viajes Barceló and Air Nostrum currently.
It is known that a deportation flight to Guinea Conarky will take place on the next 24th of July, taking off from Madrid and making a stop in Barcelona, according to #YouLoveFlying. “We want to publicly warn and denounce these kind of deportations, as well as the treatment received by Vueling as passengers”, claimed on the website. Vueling has said that the passengers faces no fines, are not blacklisted and can buy new tickets to Dakar.