Friday, 26 February 2010
150+ Outside UKBA
Earlier today there was around 150 people (maybe more) protesting outside the UK Border Agency offices in Cardiff. The demonstration was organised by Refugee Voice Wales in the background of allegations of a racist culture within the offices when dealing with asylum applications. Something that most people could take an educated guess at anyway, but these allegations were made by a former employee at the Border Agency who revealed that the racism was not just of individuals but was a systematic practice within the office.
The demonstration was extremely significant because it is very rare for asylum seekers themselves to participate in demonstrations outside the Border Agency but on this occasion they were organising the demonstration, speaking from the platform and leading the chants all afternoon. At least half of the demonstrators but probably more were asylum seekers. A significant step forward in the campaign for migrants rights.
There was at least 150 people there but possibly more than that, for a weekday demonstration in Cardiff it is quite rare to see a demonstration of that size and the police were clearly stunned by the amount of people there and had to call for reinforcements, although it must be said that the reinforcements brought the total number of police officers up to only four anyway so was a rather pointless exercise on there part and they clearly didn't have any control over the demonstration which was effectively stewarding itself.
This is definitely a step towards a campaign to unite workers and migrants with many workers and youth participating in the demonstration alongside asylum seekers. Youth Fight for Jobs members participated in the demonstration and gave out leaflets for the March 13th anti-racist demonstration in Barking the leaflets went down really well and one member spoke from the platform explaining the importance of the demonstration to cut across the racist propaganda of the BNP and the main parties of trying to blame the economic crisis on migrants taking jobs and using public services. That we needed a campaign that will able to unite all working class people to fight for decent jobs and public services for all. This was well received by the demonstration.
For more reports of the demonstration check out No Borders South Wales.