Socialist Worker

Activists rally for refugees as EU leaders ramp up racist clampdown

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2493

A young crowd says refugees are welcome here in Edinburgh

A young crowd says 'refugees are welcome here' in Edinburgh (Pic: Stephen McBroom)

The European Union (EU) president Donald Tusk has issued a threat to desperate refugees trying to get into Europe. “Do not come to Europe—it is all for nothing,” he said in an attack aimed at “potential economic migrants”.

Tusk made the remarks at a meeting with Greek prime minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras.

The EU is desperately trying to patch together an agreement with Greece and neighbouring Turkey to lock refugees out.

Occupational therapy student Jenny Leow speaking at the Lewisham meeting

Occupational therapy student Jenny Leow speaking at the Lewisham meeting

Over 10,000 are stranded near the Greek/Macedonian border, blocked from travelling north by razor wire and riot cops.  

Tusk is pandering to the right and the fascists. He is trying to battle against the mass solidarity with refugees that we’ve seen from substantial numbers of people across Europe.

His speech come less than a week after French authorities demolished the “jungle” refugee camp in Calais.

Whether people are fleeing the West’s wars in the Middle East or want to come for “economic” 
reasons—they should be allowed to come.

Over 100 people joined the Stand Up to Racism meeting in Manchester

Over 100 people joined the Stand Up to Racism meeting in Manchester

That’s why activists across Britain are building mass anti-racist demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on 19 March. These are part of a European day of action to say refugees are welcome and to oppose racism.  


Around 80 people joined a Stand Up to Racism rally in Edinburgh last night, Wednesday.

The audience was very young and included people from the Muslim Women’s Association, Momentum and migrant groups and Greek and Spanish activists. Activists sold tickets for the coach to the Glasgow demonstration.

On the previous night some 75 people were at a similar rally in Cambridge.

Dan Ellis from the Cambridge Calais Action Grouptalked movingly about the group’s solidarity work with refugees and decried the governments attacking them.

As well as saying “Refugees are welcome here”, activists are organising against the Tories Islamophobic offensive.

Malia Bouattia, the NUS Black Students Officer, told the rally how the Tories’ Prevent agenda is gagging Muslim college and school students. It forces public sector workers to spy for signs of “radicalisation” and targets Muslims.

Zak Cochrane from Stand Up to Racism stressed that bigotry can be opposed. He added that the best way to make a stand against racism is to build the demonstration in London on 19 March.

Momentum behind the demos is growing. On Tuesday night over 100 people also attended the Stand Up to Racism rally in Manchester and some 60 joined the one in Lewisham in south east London.

Thanks to Talat Ahmed and Richard Rose

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