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OutNewsGlobal attended the London protest on Monday evening with hundreds of others.  We often feature LGBTQ rights but LGBTQ and refugee rights are human rights, and our editorial team are amongst the many who believe that this bill is against human rights standards. 

Speakers included politicians, such as the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a young doctor who rightly pointed out that the NHS heavily relies upon immigrants for many of its doctors and nurses, and Qays Sediqi, a former refugee, now a solicitor supporting immigration and legal aid.  If this bill goes ahead, people like him who now contribute so much to this country, would be denied this opportunity and possibly sent back to a terrible fate. 

The UK’s proposed illegal immigration bill, amounts to an asylum ban.  It would stop people entering the UK on small boats from claiming asylum. Adults would be detained without bail for up to 28 days, denied asylum and sent to their home country or a third “safe nation” such as Rwanda.  They would also be banned for life for returning to Britain, regardless of the validity of their asylum claim. The government has also not ruled out that children who come to the UK on small boats will be held in detention centres, leading to concern over their treatment and the possibility that immigration officers may use force and restraint on youngsters. 

Asylum seekers currently have the right to remain in the country to have their cases heard. 

One speaker said, 

“Just 22 Afghans arrived illegally here last year. 22 not 22,000!”

“The government points at people seeking safety on small, rubber dinghy and says blame them. They say they are responsible for our NHS collapse and cost of living crisis. 

Our enemy doesn’t travel in a cheap plastic dinghy, they travel by private jet”. 

Independent MP Jeremy Corbyn said, “This bill will damage the human rights of everyone in our society.  No-one in this square would ever risk their lives, getting into a dingy unless they were absolutely desperate.  In January, I went over to Calais. The camp was awful, the camp was dangerous but the camp had a sense of community and there was some solidarity in the camp”.

 “What we now have is desperate people, hanging around in Calais, being harassed by the far right, being harassed by the police, their tents being torn apart, their water carriers being stabbed so they get nothing to drink.  They risk all to cross the channel.  Some of them die as a result of it.  Let’s work out why people seek asylum.  It’s not rocket science!  We have to stand against this bill and all that it entails”.

I’ve personally been to Calais back in 2015, where I took a car load of supplies to people in need.  How many of these people that I talked to and shared food with, will have died trying to get to the UK? It’s tragic and if this bill goes ahead things will get much worse for refugees. 

Labour MP Nadia Whittome said, “We need to give refugees the right to work and every single detention centre closed.  People arriving on our shores are not an invasion, criminals or a threat, they are people just like you and me”.

Green MP, Caroline Lucas said “In the words of British-Somali poet Warsan Shire, “No one puts their child in a boat unless the boat is safer than the land, or their home is the mouth of a shark or the barrel of a gun”.

Protesters passionately turned up with homemade and professionally done placards

MP for Hackney, Diane Abbot agreed with Gary Lineker’s words saying, “The rhetoric and language around this bill is indeed reminiscent of Germany in the 1930’s”.  I’m no football fan but Gary Lineker’s tweets reach a mass audience, many of whom might not normally be politically motivated.  The BBC have now offered an apology over his suspension.  The immense support he has received shows that things can change with people power. 

The crowd chanted “Say it loud, say it here, Refugees are welcome here”. Many held placards and at the end of the protest people put their placards on the gates in front of Big Ben.  “Love crisps, hate racists” was a homemade placard, others said things like “Deport Tories, not refugees”. 

After the protest, many left placards supporting our refugees outside Big Ben

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Maz Gordon

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