Freedom for migrants! Justice for refugees! Report of march in Newcastle 12 September 2015

On 12 September 2015 supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined hundreds of people on the ‘Newcastle Welcomes Refugees’ march. This was part of a national day of action in response to the on-going crisis faced by refugees and migrants across Europe.

FRFI supported the demands of migrants in Calais to open the borders and to grant safe and legal passage to Britain, and called for an end to deportations and the closure of all immigration prisons. A leaflet with the text below was distributed:

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Save Elswick Pool! Fight the Cuts!

Public meeting of the campaign

On Saturday 22 August, over 30 local residents came to a meeting in Elswick pool. The meeting was organized by local activists, Parents Against Cuts and FRFI supporters to discuss the planned closure of the pool in late October. At time of writing, an online petition to save the pool, launched earlier in the week, has over 2,100 signatures. Many residents have commented that this is one of the last remaining facilities in Elswick, one of the poorest areas of the city. Meanwhile the council has recently announced plans for a £45 million refurbishment of its own offices in the Civic Centre.

The pool’s closure is the consequence of Newcastle Labour council’s cuts programme which it launched in 2012 and has continued to pursue in subsequent years. As regular readers of FRFI may remember, this involves cuts of £100m over three years to Newcastle’s public services. Every single Labour councilor voted in favour of this plan. In regards to Elswick pool, the council agreed to attempt to transfer the service to another operator. In other words, to privatise the pool. This was never going to be viable and the planned closure should come as no surprise.

What should, perhaps, come as a surprise is the attendance of Labour councilors Habib Rahman, Dipu Ahad and Anne Schofield at the meeting: all three voted for the withdrawal of funding to the pool but had the audacity to turn up at a meeting against its closure. The councilors refused to answer our questions, Rahman stating only that ‘we’re here to listen’ and that the pool ‘is very personal to me’. These platitudes are not enough. After pressure from the meeting to respond, Schofield commented that she thinks it ‘very unlikely that the pool will be saved’. The councilors agreed to answer our questions publicly at a later date.

The meeting agreed upon several public actions to fight to keep the pool open. These are listed below. What is clear is that Elswick’s residents will not back down and will not accept the council’s political wriggling. FRFI urges its readers to get involved, support the campaign and to hold the council accountable to its actions.

Save Elswick Pool!
No Cuts – Full Stop!

James Bell

Events:

Friday 28 August, 12-1pm

Petitioning outside Elswick pool, in the park, at a local community event. There will be music. Come and join us and build support for the campaign.

Saturday 29 August, 2pm

Organising Meeting. Join us at Elswick pool to organise the campaign's next steps. Main discussion points will be organising to march to the civic centre on Wednesday, 2 September, and how we can continue to build the campaign.

Wednesday 2 September, 4pm

March on the Civic Centre. The council will be having its monthly full meeting on 2 September. We will assemble outside Elswick pool from 4pm, march to the civic centre and attend this meeting. We will be presenting our petition to save the pool to this meeting. 

Marching for Justice and Dignity for Refugees in North Shields

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:

  1. Don't bomb Libya - let migrants pass safely;
  2. Shut down all immigration prisons in Britain - end indefinite detention;
  3. 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.

More actions are planned, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07858346276 to find out how you can help.

North East Events coming up..

We have street actions and political educational meetings in Newcastle every week – for details call 07858346276 or email frfinortheast@gmail.com

For more information on events in the North East you can also join the FRFI North East e-mail list and the mailing lists of campaigns we are involved in on the following pages:

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/frfinortheast

Tyneside Community Action Against Racism:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/tcar

Palestine Action Group:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/palestineactiongroup

Viva Cuba! Rock Around The Blockade:
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/ratbnortheast

or add us on Facebook.com/FRFInortheast

Contact North East FRFI

078 5834 6276
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