A protest on Saturday attracted 20,000 to Trafalgar Square in Stand Up To Racism’s biggest protest ever to say ‘Refugees are Welcome Here’.
London peacefully protested alongside Glasgow, Cardiff, Athens, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna, Sydney, Berlin, Melbourne and Copenhagen on the UN’s Anti-Racism Day.
A young refugee girl from Iraq, Amyna, spoke at the rally, and said: “We are here because we want to have a safe life, we are not not here for economic reasons , we just want to be safe. I love my country but I want to be safe.”
The protest was lead by refugees who were holding hands with the organisers in solidarity throughout the march.
This comes after the outrage over Turkey’s deal with the EU to stop refugees from travelling through, despite the fact there are more than 4.7 million Syrian refugees looking to be re-homed.
At the protest
Over 30 speakers spoke at the rally, including actor Vanessa Redgrave, comedian Jeremy Hardy, MP Diane Abbott and MEP’s Claude Moraes and Jean Lambert.
“It is appalling the way Europe has turned its back on people,” Said Abbott. “Without refugees and migrants, London would not be the great city it is today. Yet the media choose to ignore this.”
Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to take in 20,000 refugees by 2020, but it was made clear at the protest that the crowd did not think this was enough, agreeing with the Church of England bishops open letter to him last year, urging him to take in more.
Sarah Reed’s mother, Marylin Reed, also spoke at the rally, and thanked the crowd for the solidarity through her tears.
She buried her daughter a month ago, after she was found dead in Holloway Prison, and highlighted the every day racism that is still going on in the UK, not just towards refugees.