Protesters denounce UK plan to halt migrants’ Channel crossings

LONDON: Anti-racism protesters marched in London on Saturday (Mar 18) to denounce the government’s controversial plan to tackle cross-Channel migrant crossings by preventing arrivals from applying for asylum.

Around 2,000 protesters, many carrying signs reading “no human being is illegal” and bearing trade union logos, marched towards Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence.

Organisers said the demonstration was partly a response to the government’s “inhuman” and “illegal” migration Bill.

“People in this country are decent… and they’re willing to open their arms to people who are fleeing terrible circumstances,” said the protest’s planning officer Mark Daly.

“The government is trying to make these people not only unwelcome but illegal. We cannot classify people as illegal,” he said. “It’s a racist policy from a racist government.”

Other protests took place in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Welsh capital Cardiff.

The Conservative government wants to outlaw asylum claims by all illegal arrivals and transfer them to “safe” third countries, such as Rwanda, in a bid to stop thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel on small boats.

The bill proposes preventing people who have arrived in the country illegally from seeking asylum before they are sent to a third country deemed safe. Exceptions would be made for unaccompanied minors.

More than 45,000 migrants arrived in the UK last year by crossing the English Channel on small boats.