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Manchester activists join nationwide refugee solidarity demonstration

  • Manchester Stand up to Racism shows solidarity with refugees  
  • Demonstrators criticize the Conservative government for creating a hostile environment for migrants
  • Event is one of several protests spanning nationwide this week

Manchester Stand up to Racism held a demonstration in St Peter’s square as part of a nationwide solidarity protest in support of refugees.

Members of the Manchester organization gathered to spread their message of hope and solidarity with refugees arriving in Great Britain.

The group expressed its dissatisfaction with the handling of the migrant crisis by the British and the French governments.

They reject the alleged hostility shown towards refugees by members of 'far-right' groups and by the alienation caused by the rhetoric delivered by Therese May's government during their handling of the recent influx of people to Britain. 

Activists chanted:

SAY IT LOUD! SAY IT CLEAR! REFUGEES ARE WELCOMED HERE!

Several speakers gave passion driven speeches outside Manchester’s central library, including prominent Stand Up to Racism organizer Nahella Ashraf and poet Sarfraz Malik who read out one of his poems ‘Refugee’ from his upcoming book. Nahella announced: 

They should open the borders and let in those in need

"We have come out here today because we have had this fearmongering from the government. What they say has had real implications and gives real confidence to the far right, the racist and the Nazis. 

"The government announced they would be pulling for a military ship to man the coast. Bear in mind, that this warship they are talking about using to secure our shores cost billions to runs. So when they say we cannot help this small group of people who are desperate for safety and shelter it's not because we can't afford it, it is very clearly an ideological decision".

"We have helped create fortress Britain and fortress Europe and spent millions on doing this rather than opening up our homes and our hearts to people that are in need".

Despite the cold night and strong wind, the group was joined by members from Hull Stand up to Racism and interacted with passing members of the public.  

Hull Stand Up To Racism
Members of Hull Stand Up To Racism

The demonstrators not only criticized the handling of the migrant crisis but also called out the Conservative government for allegedly creating a hostile environment for migrants and producing a breeding ground for hate groups aimed at causing division.

The night’s demonstration was part of a coordinated effort by several groups across the country to stage several prominent events in response to the rise of alleged hate groups and fascists. Demonstrations took place in several locations including Wigan, Newcastle, and London.

Speakers also promoted several upcoming protests, including a demonstration due to take place in Wigan against UKIP leader Gerard Batten following his appointing of former EDL leader and activist Tommy Robinson as an advisor.

Stand up to Racism has held many prominent events and demonstrations with support from the Labour party, Green party, Liberal Democrat party and Manchester Socialist movement.

I spoke with activist Ron Senchak: "I'm a socialist activist and anti-racist. I am here to show my solidarity with asylum seekers and those people who have come over the channel. 

"The government has orchestrated a hostile environment for refugees. This attitude of racism permeates in the government and they use the scapegoat of immigrants and foreigners. They have whipped it up and it's the racists, the fascists and that jerk Tommy Robinson who have been empowered by this.

"We see the far right growing across Europe and they wish to grow here too."

Following the demonstration, the group got a reprieve from the cold and enjoyed drinks at Starbucks. 

Starbucks
Stand Up To Racism members enjoying post-demo drinks

For more information go to Manchester Stand Up To Racism.

Nahella Ashraf delivering her speech in St Peter's Square
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