Rwanda asylum plane protests

Protests spring up across the UK as first Rwanda asylum plane set to fly tomorrow

One advocate dubbed the policy a ‘vile attempt to crush the hopes of people who have lost everything’

As the government continues to press ahead with its controversial Rwanda asylum plan, protests have grown in number across the UK.

Ahead of the first planned deportation flights on Tuesday, activists protested at Gatwick Airport yesterday with further demonstrations expected outside Priti Patel’s Home Office later today. 

The plans launched by Priti Patel in April would see some asylum seekers, often fleeing war-torn countries, removed and flown to Rwanda instead of being allowed to remain in the UK. 

The policy will affect refugees from countries including, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. The group Care4Calais says they are aware of at least nine Afghans who have been notified of their removal, despite the recent conflict and Taliban rule in the country. 

Last week a legal challenge to stop the policy failed at the High Court, however, some Home Office sources are now claiming that following individual appeals and resistance tomorrow’s flights could be completely empty. 

Zoe Gardner, from the migrant advocacy charity, JCWI, said refugees the government wants to send to Rwanda include “an Iraqi Kurd who is disabled from being shot by police” and “a police officer from Iran who disobeyed orders and was tortured as a result”.

Zoe described the policy as a “vile attempt to crush the hopes of people who have lost everything” in order to “distract us from the PMs lies and failures”.

In Peckham, hundreds of protestors managed to successfully stop police from detaining a man arrested on immigration offences.  

News of the immigration raid spread through social media and local activist groups and within hours hundreds of protestors blocked police vans and officers attempting to leave with the arrested man. 

Footage from the protests appeared to show police using force against the protestors including kicking and stamping.

One witness claimed that “young women were pushed to the ground” by the officers. A Met Police spokesperson said they were not aware of any injuries.

After hours of protests, the man was eventually released on bail as protestors chanted “don’t come back to Peckham” at officers.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to Evan Cook Close on Saturday, June 11, shortly after 1.30pm to a report of protesters obstructing immigration officers.

“Officers attended and found a van was being prevented from leaving the location. One man had been arrested by Immigration Enforcement officers on suspicion of immigration offences. He was subsequently released on bail.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the evil people smugglers’ business model.
“While we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect.”

Feature image credit: Philip Robins

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