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Call To Protest “Cruel and Nasty” Rwanda Policy for Refugees

a crowd of 30 people looking towards the camera for a group photo.

Together With Refugees demonstrators gather at the Fountain Steps. Image: James Ward.

Bristolians will meet this weekend to protest Priti Patel’s latest demonic attack on asylum seekers. 

It was announced last week that Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an agreement with the Rwandan government to send asylum seekers, mainly men, arriving in the UK to Rwanda for processing. Under the deal, if their claim is successful they will be allowed to stay in Rwanda. 

Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign (BDASC) has called for a rally at midday on Saturday, April 23, at The Fountains, St Augustine’s Parade. 

Posters for the rally carry the tagline “Not In Our Name”, reflecting the widespread expressions of anger and disbelief at the policy which the Refugee Council has branded “cruel and nasty.”

In a statement online, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, a national charity, said: ‘No one risks their own, or their family’s life, unless they are running from dangers more acute than they face on these dangerous journeys.’

They go on to say the policy ‘will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos – at a huge expense of an estimated £1.4 billion a year.’

Saturday’s rally follows previous demonstrations over the last year against the Nationality and Borders Bill, the government’s overarching plan to remodel UK refugee and asylum seeker policy. 

One change the new Bill will introduce is to define regular and irregular routes to the UK, with anyone arriving via an irregular route (such as by boat across the Channel) deemed to be arriving illegally. 

This change would allow the government to sidestep the issue, highlighted by campaigners, that under international law there is no such thing as an illegal refugee or asylum seeker. 

The Rwanda policy makes undeniable the government’s hypocrisy on the issue of refugees. At a time when Ukrainian refugees are being welcomed into people’s homes, including the home of government minister Grant Shapps, refugees from other countries are being deported to Rwanda to fend for themselves. 

Bristolians must join to resist these harmful plans that do nothing to help refugees and do much to harm them. 

Alongside the BDASC rally on Saturday, Bristol City of Sanctuary have an open letter to sign to express opposition to Home Office plans. 

A poster for Saturday’s rally. Image: Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign.

Feature image from a BDASC rally in October last year.

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