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Mass anti-racism demonstrations flood London, Cardiff and Glasgow over weekend

THOUSANDS of anti-racist protesters demonstrated across the country at the weekend against Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s Illegal Migration Bill and the racism it feeds.

The demonstrations against racism and bigotry of all kinds were organised by Stand Up to Racism (SUTR), and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), drawing support and speakers from across organised labour, as well as charities and organisations supporting refugees here and abroad.

In London, 12,000 protesters marched on Downing Street, taking their clear message that “No human being is illegal” to the heart of government, as the Tories drive forward controversial legislation that will leave refugees who have travelled to this country by “irregular” routes to be automatically ineligible to claim asylum.

Attending the rally in London, planning officer Mark Daly said: “The government is trying to make these people illegal. We cannot classify people as illegal, it’s a racist policy from a racist government.”

Ms Braverman, however, was not to be found in Downing Street. Instead she was jetting off to Rwanda for the weekend to discuss her government’s deal to outsource its international responsibilities on asylum to the African nation, a potential practice that has also come under criticism from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), which stated: “The Rwanda arrangement does not meet the requisite standards.”

The UNHCR says the proposed law “would amount to an asylum ban — extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how compelling their claim may be.”

Stand Up to Racism convener Weyman Bennet said: “It’s going to be mobilising this broad and united mass action that can effectively drive back the government’s truly despicable policies. They want to divide and rule.

“We are part of a mighty movement, and that’s what we need, here and internationally, to push back the threat of the far right, fascists and the wider racist assault that gives them space to grow.”

The controversy over football commentator Gary Lineker’s comments on the government’s language around asylum, labelling it as language out of “1930s Germany” was also referred to.

One London protester, Maria Frazer, said: “Lineker was right when he said there are shades of the German Reich in the methods that they are using.

“People are turning out because they are extremely angry at the way the economy is being run and the deprivation that’s going on while the rich get richer.”

Addressing the London rally, Jeremy Corbyn MP said: “It’s not a solution to incarcerate them in this country or remove them to Rwanda.

“The only way is the human way — safe routes!”

The government is not only coming under attack for its attitude towards refugees coming to Britain, but is facing renewed scrutiny of the way refugees are treated when they are here.

Recent flashpoints in Knowlesy have occurred where refugees have been housed locally with no communication in local communities, a Home Office information vacuum the fascist Patriotic Alternative (PA) has been quick to exploit.

Tensions have been similarly heightened by the PA in Erskine in recent weeks, fought by the local Paisley and District Trades Council, with information and solidarity.

Just a few miles away in Glasgow yesterday, STUC general secretary Roz Foyer told the 3,000-strong rally that the fascist challenge must be met.

She said: “Let’s never forget, that when working-class people, unions, anti-racist campaigners get organised, and unite in our demands, we can beat racism both on our streets and in the very heart of the UK government.”


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