Civil organizations have taken to the streets of major British cities on Saturday to protest against the deportation of migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda.
«Refugees welcome!» chanted participants at rallies in Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield, reported the NGO Care4Calais.
The images disseminated on social networks show rallies at the Brook House Immigration Removal Center, next to Gatwick International Airport, and in front of the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Center, next to Heathrow International Airport.
«We know there are many people against Rwanda’s brutal plan and we are delighted to see many of them making their voices heard today,» said Care4Calais director Clare Moseley. «We have seen first-hand the human cost of locking people up and telling them they will be sent to Rwanda, from suicide attempts to hunger strikes,» she explained. «We now have six weeks to show the government that this cruel plan is not what the people of the UK want,» she added.
These demonstrations are part of the #StopRwanda campaign by the Trades Union Congress, Care4Calais and Standing Up to Racism. It is backed by eleven unions, including the Public and Commercial Services Union — which represents more than 80 percent of Border Force personnel — and migrant rights organizations.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, presented in April the «pioneering» project to deport immigrants who have arrived illegally on British territory to Rwanda, where their asylum applications could be processed.
The first flight of deportations was scheduled for June, but a court appeal prevented it from taking place. Care4Calais and Detention Action, the initiators of the appeal, have announced that the hearing will not take place until September.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in office, but all the candidates to succeed him have declared their intention to respect the deportation program to Rwanda.