Wednesday 22 April 2015

UAF backs ‘Migrant lives matter’ demo – Saturday 25 April

Pic credit: UNHCR / A Rodriguez

Pic credit: UNHCR / A Rodriguez

UAF is backing the “Migrant lives matter” demonstration on Saturday 25 April, after a week in which more than 1,000 migrants seeking refuge in Europe were drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

The protest called by the Movement Against Xenophobia, will take place from 1pm to 2pm on Saturday, outside the European Commission headquarters, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU – nearest tubes: Westminster or St James’s Park.

The horrific death toll in the Mediterranean follows a decision to scrap the EU’s previous maritime search and rescue mission. Refugees fleeing war and repression in countries such as Libya and Syria are being left to drown.

Racists and fascists across Europe have tried to scapegoat migrants for the economic crisis, and have attacked the boat people. Former British National Party leader Nick Griffin notoriously called for the authorities to deliberately sink migrants’ boats. Earlier this year, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far right Northern League sparked outrage by saying the desperate migrants should be left on the boats.

But around the country, millions of people have been appalled at the migrants’ plight and the devastating death toll.

UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett said:

We’ve seen far right racist and fascist parties around Europe attack migrants – and, disgracefully, mainstream party leaders have often echoed this anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The tragic deaths in the Mediterranean show where this rhetoric, and political decisions based on migrant-bashing, can lead. We need to stand together and say migrants are not to blame for the economic crisis and austerity. We are backing the demo because we believe migrant lives matter. We need unity and not division in our communities – we have to say no to scapegoating.

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