- Created: Thursday, 18 June 2015 09:42
- Written by Newcastle Branch
On Monday 15 June, over 100 people marched in North Shields, North East England, to demand justice and dignity for refugees and asylum seekers. The protest was organised by Beyond Borders and was supported by several other organisations.
Protesters held an open microphone and chanted 'Justice for immigrants! Freedom for refugees!' as they went from the metro station through North Shields. Although met by a counter-protest of half a dozen racist thugs from the English Defence Leafue, the mood was high. After an hour, the march arrived at the Home Office Immigration Reporting Centre and held a rally. A march organised by Sunderland City of Sanctuary met us at the centre, having walked the 13 miles from Sunderland. The reporting centre is place of fear for many asylum seekers, with reports of frequent racism, intimidation and harassment when they go to sign. Immigration enforcement teams operate from the centre to snatch migrants and take them into detention or to be deported. But on Monday the mood was one of anger and defiance.
The protest presented a set of demands that had been agreed amongst participating organisations in open organising meetings in the weeks leading up to the march:
- Don't bomb Libya - let migrants pass safely;
- Shut down all immigration prisons in Britain - end indefinite detention;
- End destitution - decent housing for all.
The Home Office staff refused to accept our demands, hiding behind private security guards and police and claiming that the centre manager had left the building. We handed the demands to the police to pass on to the Home Office – after all, they are ultimately part of the same machinery of repression. Following this, the protest marched back to the metro station, dancing and chanting.