Around 170 refugees have drowned after two boats were shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sea last week.
This brings the total number of refugees murdered by the European Union’s (EU) racist border regime to 200 in the first three weeks of January.
A rubber dinghy with 120 refugees sank near Libya on the North African coast last Friday, killing all but three of those on board. A further 53 refugees who were travelling from Morocco died after a boat collision.
They were all fleeing wars, poverty and dictatorship and trying to make it to safety in Europe. Two of the survivors are from Sudan—where the EU-funded dictatorship in North Africa tries to forcibly conscript teenagers into the armed forces.
Another survivor is a 22-year old from Gambia—a West African country still reeling from economic underdevelopment under British rule. The Gambian refugee said, “I am still alive but the others are all dead.”
Survivors described how two women desperately tried to hold their toddlers above their heads before drowning.
The ordeal is not over for those who survived the horror.
Italy’s far right interior minister Matteo Salvini blocked rescue ships from docking in the country’s ports.
He made clear last week that a Sea Watch rescue ship with 47 refugees on board would have to go the “long way around” to Hamburg.
Salvini claimed this is “proof that if you reopen the ports more people will die”.
The Mediterranean has been turned into a mass grave by the EU’s “Fortress Europe” and the migration policies of countries such as Britain.
And every attempt to stop refugees finding safety in Europe has simply shifted the main location of the refugee crisis and forced refugees to take more perilous routes.
The EU signed a deal with the Turkish government in 2015 making it easier to deport refugees who had made it to Greece.
This forced refugees to take the much more dangerous route across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy. The EU’s rulers are now trying to block refugees—and want to set up internment camps across North Africa.
This saw the refugee population in Libya rocket to an estimated 662,000 last year, according to the International Migration Organisation. A combination of the policies of the EU and Salvini has pushed more refugees to try and make it to Spain rather than Italy.
While it can be a shorter route, the latest drownings show that it is no less deadly.
Those who make it to Europe face batons, barbed wire and destitution.
That includes around 1,500 refugees trapped at Britain’s border in northern France and Belgium.
Stand Up To Racism and Care4Calais have organised a solidarity delegation on Saturday 9 February. It will bring much-need supplies—but it’s about showing solidarity, not just charity.
The only solution to open the border and let the refugees in. And that means building a mass movement against racism that can force the Tories to do it.
Shocking extent of racism
Black and Asian workers face shocking levels of racism from bosses, a new report has revealed.
Workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 80 percent more job applications to get a positive response than a white person, according to research by the Centre for Social Investigation at Oxford university.
Those from white minority ethnic backgrounds had to send 60 percent more applications to get a response.
Stand Up To Racism round-up
Anti-fascists in Oxford were set to protest against French Nazi Marion Marechal-Le Pen as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday night.
The Oxford Union university debating society invited the activist from National Rally, the renamed National Front.
The Oxford Stand Up To Racism group said, “Disgracefully, the Oxford Union has a history of inviting leading figures from the far right. Steve Bannon, Marine Le Pen, Tommy Robinson have all been given a platform in recent years.”
“We are working with trade unions, students and anti-racist campaigners to build a massive protest to demand that we keep Nazi Marechal-Le Pen out of Oxford.”
Fascist James Goddard was chased out of Newport, South Wales, by a “Fuck the faux yellow vests” protest last Saturday.
Goddard is best known for loitering outside parliament and insulting Tory Anna Soubry.
He was hoping to capitalise on a previous “Yellow Vest” protest two weeks earlier organised by a mishmash of Nazi groups including the National Front.
Then, some 50 people joined their protest. The hastily organised opposition was small, which was why they were back.
This time the tables were turned—in next to no time we pulled together 35 to 50 people and the fascists could only muster around 15.
Thanks to Des Mannay
Over 30 people joined a Stand Up To Racism organising meeting in Glasgow last week including representatives from a wide range of groups.
Activists are planning local activity in the run up to the national anti-racist demonstrations on 16 March.
Around 150 people came to an Stand Up To Racism meeting at the Unison union’s black workers’ conference in Llandudno last week.