A PROTEST was staged in Brighton and Hove for the third evening in a row.

Demonstrators gathered at the British Airways i360 to oppose the airline's involvement in deportation.

Protesters delivered a series of speeches and carried banners with messages including "Bigot Airways," "Black Lives Matter," and "hypocrites, stop deportation".

Signs also referenced the death of Jimmy Mubenga.

The Angolan father-of-five arrived in the UK in 1994 but, in 2006, he was convicted of causing actual bodily harm and served two years in prison.

He had been in the process of applying for permanent residency in the UK, and the decision was made to deport him.

The Argus:

He died on a British Airways flight from London Heathrow in 2010, and several investigations into his death were launched as a result.

An inquest jury ruled that he had been "unlawfully killed" in 2013 having been "pushed or held down by one or more of the guards" on the flight with "unreasonable force".

As a result, three guards from security company G4S were charged with manslaughter in March 2014.

But, in December that year, they were found not guilty following a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.

British Airways has been criticised in the past for co-operating with deportations.

An open letter to the airline from activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants last year criticised the company for sponsoring Brighton Pride.

The Argus:

It claimed the company was complicit in the deportation of people seeking protection from sexuality-based persecution in their home nation.

The activist group called for an end to British Airways' involvement with deportation.

Ahead of the 2019 Brighton Pride celebrations, the group stated: "It is an added insult that many of those deported on British Airways are LGBTQIA+ people who should be marching with us at the parade but are instead brutally rounded up and ejected from the UK to face poverty, persecution and, in some cases, death."

A British Airways spokeswoman has responded to yesterday's protests.

The Argus:

She said: "It is a legal requirement (Immigration Act 1971) for all UK airlines to deport people when asked to do so by the Home Office.

"Not fulfilling this obligation amounts to breaking the law.

"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.

"We are not given any personal information about the individual being deported or why they are being deported.

"The process we follow is a full risk assessment, with the Home Office, which considers the safety of the individual, our customers and crew on the flight."

The Argus:

This is the third protest in Brighton and Hove this week with groups gathering in the city to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Thursday, a group of about 100 people held a silent protest outside Hove Town Hall.

A spokesman for the group said members were outraged at the death of George Floyd and invited "anyone who wishes to stand in solidarity” to attend.

He also said it was a silent protest "as a mark of respect" and social distancing rules were observed.

During the demonstration, those present knelt and raised clenched fists above their heads.

This has been used as a way to show opposition to police brutality and racism.

The group of about 100 people also held banners carrying messages including "stand up to racism", "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe".

The Argus:

This was a reference to the pleas of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died as a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the floor and knelt on his neck.

His death in America has sparked Black Lives Matter Protests across the world.

The day before, more than a thousand people marched through the streets, chanting and carrying banners as they made their way from St Nicholas' Church to the police station in John Street.

The Argus:

Sussex Police officers knelt before the group in a symbol of support.

There is another protest march planned for June 13, with protesters meeting at Brighton Palace Pier.

Organisers have said they will march through Brighton to expose the “horrible truth of racism still lurking explicitly and subtly in the UK today”.

Pictures by Charlotte Lillington/@brighton.streets, Simon Dack and Henry Bonsor