ELOY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Responding to what they say is ongoing abuse and neglect, and demanding an independent investigation into two recent detainee deaths they feel are suspicious, about 200 immigrant detainees launched a hunger strike Saturday morning at the Eloy Detention Center.
At 9:45 a.m., the men sat down in the recreation yard and declared their strike against what they say are brutal and inhumane conditions.
Among their demands:
- Independent investigation into the two recent deaths, both of which happened under what detainees say are mysterious circumstances, allegedly after guard abuse
- An investigation into excessive use of force at the detention center
- Better medical and mental health care
- Access to legal resources and court hearings when requested
- An end to what they say is the exploitation of their work
- An end to immigration criminalization, detention and deportations
About 100 family members of the hunger strikers, people formerly detained at Eloy and concerned community members protested outside the detention center in support of the hunger strikers.
Tucson News Now reporter Cynthia Washington is on scene and says detention center officials refused to let the detainees back inside the facility once they declared their hunger strike. The hunger strikers sat in the triple-digit heat for at least four hours, and officials refused to bring them water.
Now, it appears they are being allowed back inside, one at a time, and most protesters have left. Two are staying until they see that all detainees have been allowed back inside.
Stay with us on air and online for updates. You can follow Cynthia on Twitter at @CynthiaKOLD. She will report on the situation at 5:30 on KOLD.