Thousands protest UK’s new immigration bill in London

Organizers said the demonstration was in part a response to the government’s “inhumane” immigration bill.


Anti-racism protesters marched through London on Saturday to denounce the government’s controversial plan to tackle cross-Channel migrant crossings by preventing entrants from claiming asylum.
Around 2,000 protesters, many holding signs reading “No one is illegal” and carrying union signs, marched on Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence.

Organizers said the demonstration was in part a response to the government’s “inhumane” and “illegal” immigration bill.

“People in this country are decent … and they’re willing to open their arms to people fleeing horrific circumstances,” said Mark Daly, the protest’s planning officer.

“The government is trying to make these people not only undesirable, but illegal. We cannot classify them as illegal,” he said. “This is a racist policy by a racist government.”

Other protests took place in Glasgow, Scotland, and Cardiff, the Welsh capital.

The Conservative government wants to ban all asylum claims from illegal immigrants and divert them to “safe” third countries, such as Rwanda, to stop the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

The bill proposes to prevent people who arrive in the country illegally from seeking asylum until they are sent to a third country where they are deemed safe.

Unaccompanied minors are excluded.

More than 45,000 migrants crossed the English Channel by small boat to the UK last year.

UN ‘deeply concerned’

Unicef ​​said last week it was “deeply concerned” about the bill’s potential impact on minors. So did Volker Turke, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons that stopping the boats was “the people’s number one priority”.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman was visiting Rwanda on Saturday to reaffirm her commitment to the government’s policy of deporting migrants.

Braverman defended the policy at a news conference, accompanied by Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta.

“I sincerely believe that this world-leading partnership between two allies and two friends, the UK and Rwanda, will lead the way in finding solutions that are both humanitarian and compassionate,” she said.

“This will not only help dismantle people-smuggling criminal networks, it will save lives,” Biruta told reporters.

Braverman has repeatedly insisted the government has the power to stop migrants crossing the Channel, which she said could total 80,000 this year.

However, when she introduced the illegal immigration bill to parliament last week, she included a note acknowledging she could not confirm whether the plan respected European human rights law.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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