Earlier today there was a demonstration outside the UK Border Agency in Cardiff to coincide with a demonstration outside the Nigerian Embassy in London. The aim of the protests were to highlight the plight of Nigerians who are facing the prospect of a chartered flight back to Nigeria. Many of the deportees are victim of cult and gang violence, torture, rape, female genital mutilation, armed conflict and state oppression, however as Nigerian is deemed as a safe country, the asylum application of a Nigerian national are almost automatically rejected. For more information check out the No Borders South Wales Blog.
Flames were added to the fire by an article in today's Guardian which highlights the internal culture within the Border Agency offices at Cardiff. In the article an ex-worker there said there was a culture of hatred and anti-immigrant feelings running throughout the workforce. That if they were faced with a difficult case they would simply deny the application and leave it to a tribunal to sort out. More worryingly though, the article goes on to state that there was a canteen culture of intolerance, that those who accepted applications were mocked and taunted and the aim was to refuse the applications as if was simply a game rather than the life and death situations which they really are. As one of my ex-housemates works there I can definitely see this as the internal culture there, he wasn't the most likeable or understandable character you are likely to meet in fact quite the opposite,
The protest itself was good with somewhere between 30-40 in attendance. Pretty good considering the demonstration started at 4.30pm when many people would still be in work and it was raining quite a bit as well which always harms the turnout. The railings outside the border agency were absolutely covered in anti-immigration control banners. Most importantly though out of everyone there there was obviously the usual faces that you expect to see at demonstrations but there was also a lot of new faces that I had not seen around before and a significant amount were young activists.