Thousands march against racism, asylum bill in London

Thousands march against racism, asylum bill in London

'Refugees are welcome here,' protesters chant

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - Thousands of people on Saturday took to the streets of London against racism and the UK government’s new asylum bill.

Protesters gathered at Portland Place, outside the BBC headquarters in central London, chanting slogans such as "refugees are welcome here."

The protest, organized by the Stand Up To Racism group, was supported by many different groups and organizations, including Stop the War Coalition, Black Lives Matter, Muslims and Jewish societies as well as several unions and environmental organizations.

During the demonstration, protesters rejected the Conservative party's migration policies, and criticized the country's Interior Minister Suella Braverman over the controversial "Rwanda plan" and the recent "Illegal Migration Bill."

"Stop deportation", "Safe passage, not Rwanda flights" and "Seeking refuge is not a crime" were among banners and signs held by protesters during the rally. The protesters later marched toward Downing Street.

Speaking to Anadolu, Melly, a protester, said that she attended the demonstration to show solidarity with those who arrived in the country and are not "treated fairly as they should."

On the government's Rwanda plan, she said that "it is illegal," as everyone should have a choice, adding that the plan has caused “stress and trauma” for many immigrants.

"They should be fairly treated as human beings, because everybody, as myself is an immigrant, wants to be treated just the same as equal as anyone else," she said.

Last year, the British government announced a new and controversial relocation plan that would see asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK being sent to Rwanda for resettlement while their claim is being assessed.

The policy sparked international criticism. But the British High Court ruled in December that the plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are lawful.

Introduced in March this year, the UK government's “Illegal Migration Bill,” which aimed at removing migrants entering the country on small boats, has been met with criticism from human rights organizations and refugee advocates who argue that it violates international law and the UK's obligations under the Refugee Convention.

The plan includes detaining the majority of those arriving on small boats for the first 28 days without bail or judicial review.

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