By Ken Olende
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Protests in solidarity with migrants slam a deadly, racist system

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Issue 2451
Protesters in London show solidarity with migrants
Protesters in London show solidarity with migrants (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Protesters gathered across Europe in solidarity with migrants last week. In London hundreds protested outside European Union (EU) commission near parliament in central London last Saturday.

Speakers included Walter Wolfgang who fled the Nazi Holocaust as a refugee, Lee Jasper from Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac), Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Jo Cardwell from Stand Up to Ukip. 

The protest was called by the Movement Against Xenophobia.

Antonia Bright told Socialist Worker, “Human beings are not going to stop seeking a place of safety. Policies should be based on human need not protection of the rich.”

In central Manchester several refugees joined a protest camp that had been set up to highlight homelessness.

Farid Vahidi from refugee organisation Rapar said, “No matter where you are from, the only equality seems to be that, if you have no money, you don’t deserve to live.”

In Bristol a number of French and Spanish activists joined the protest against anti-immigrant racism.

Recent protests have also highlighted the harsh conditions asylum seekers face when held in detention. In Scotland the Home Office denied requests from the Scottish TUC, churches and the Muslim Association of Britain and the refugee council to carry out a humanitarian inspection of Dungavel detention centre.

The STUC has called for an end to detention centres and is supporting a demonstration set to take place outside the centre on 30 May. 

Detainees have also protested at the conditions in Harmondsworth in west London. On Wednesday of last week detainees reported a fire in the D wing of the centre. Many detainees could only escape through a single door.

Others reported that there was no escape from the heavy smoke. One detainee said, “It’s very hard because the windows don’t open so if there is a fire and someone is in their room then they will die.”

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