The bodies of 39 migrants were found in the back of a freight lorry parked in Grays, Essex, in the United Kingdom.
The deaths have evoked public outrage and revulsion toward the British government’s brutal “deterrence” regime against migrants and refugees.
Police were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park in Essex by East of England Ambulance Service at 1.40am. All 39 people—adults and a teenager—were pronounced dead at the scene.
The victims’ identities are not known. Police forensic teams last night transported the truck’s cabin and trailer to Tilbury Docks to begin the process of formal identification. Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills told reporters this would be “a lengthy process”.
Details of the truck’s movements remain unclear. Police have confirmed only that the trailer arrived via ferry from Zeebrugge, Belgium, docking at Purfleet on the River Thames at 12.30am. The truck cabin and trailer left the port shortly after 1.05am.
It is not known where or at what time the 39 victims entered the truck’s freight container. Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, told the BBC the container appeared to be a refrigerated unit and that temperatures could reach as low as -25C. Conditions for anyone inside would be “absolutely horrendous”. Even if the container was not refrigerated, trucking experts explained that such cabins are sealed tight and lengthy confinement can lead to suffocation.
The truck’s cabin is registered in Northern Ireland. The driver, 25-year-old Mo Robinson from a village in County Armagh, was immediately arrested on suspicion of murder.
But the real authors of this immense crime reside in 10 Downing Street, along with the government and opposition parties in Westminster Palace and their accomplices in every European capital.
Their statements of condolence and crocodile tears are rank hypocrisy. Conservative Party Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement was issued via Twitter: “I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex… My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose entire career is built on anti-immigrant xenophobia, told parliament, “I’m shocked and saddened by this utterly tragic incident in Grays. My heart goes out to all those affected.”
Only last month, a smirking Patel told the Tory Party conference she was proud to be part of a Brexit government that was “taking back control of our borders” and “ending the free movement of people once and for all.” Johnson has described veiled Muslim women as “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”, deliberately stoking anti-immigrant racism.
The latest horrifying deaths are the direct outcome of a regime of deterrence that has involved a police-military operation on the English Channel and at key ports including Dover.
The truck allegedly driven by Robinson is believed to have arrived at Purfleet to avoid increased police checks and anti-migrant measures put in place at Dover in the leadup to Brexit. Five people have drowned in the English Channel this year.