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ANTI-RACISM campaigners gathered in Portland today to welcome refugees with tea and biscuits as anti-refugee protesters were forced to abandon their march.
The No to the Barge march against refugees being housed at Bibby Stockholm had been planned as new arrivals were brought onto the vessel.
The group have claimed that women and children would be in physical danger from asylum-seekers, but Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) Dorset warned the far-right is whipping up hostility.
SUTR Dorset said that the No to the Barge protest was cancelled due to a low turnout by the anti-refugee group and the large anti-racist presence.
It said activists wanted to send a message of support to the refugees and to show that the people of Portland welcomed them to the community following a public meeting last week bringing together residents from the vessel with the local people.
SUTR Dorset joint secretary Lynne Hubbard said: “We have always opposed the barge because it is inhumane and also because of the lack of resources in the area, but we have always argued it is not the refugees who are to blame.
“We are proud that attempts by some to stir up division and hatred have mostly failed, undermined by the great network of local people who have made a stand against racism, and have organised a practical welcome for our new residents on the barge.
“It is not the refugees who are to blame for the local pharmacy closing, or for the lack of NHS and other resources in the area.”
Ms Hubbard called on the public to join them in getting to know Portland’s new residents and join campaigns to fight for Britain’s services.
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