December 15, 2020
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

A solidarity protest has been called against the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, who increasingly are being forced from their local accommodation into a number of ex-military barracks far away. This includes asylum seekers from Bristol.

The Bristol Solidarity Action is hosted by Opening Bristol’s Borders (FB page / FB event), and starts on Thursday 17th December at 1.30pm. Meet at ‘The empty statue plinth’, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1. This is their callout on FB:

Over the past 6 months the home office has been moving asylum seekers from cities around the UK to ex-military barracks in Wales, Kent, Norfolk and more. The barracks have been widely criticized for the appalling living conditions, lack of Covid-19 safety, high levels of self harm, lack of medical care and lack of legal support. People housed at these barracks have been regularly harassed and in some cases attacked by the far right.

People seeking asylum in Bristol have been taken from their accommodation here in the city to Penally (Wales) barracks. Join us to show solidarity with people in the barracks and call for there immediate closure. Let’s stand up against this systemic racism and the ever increasing hostile immigration polices. Bring banners, placards, noise, your friends and networks.

Under the Tory Government, the strategy of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for people seeking shelter & refuge from civil war, famine, and the oppression of brutal regimes, has escalated dramatically. Against a background of Brexit, fear-mongering, and finding the weakest & most vulnerable to blame (for just about everything), the hostile environment is designed to deter those in need from coming to the UK (as they are legally allowed to do). It puts in place often dubious legal powers (that may ignore international human rights) to victimise those in need, and is also designed to encourage a racist & violent response by local people coerced into believing the Tories lies (or indeed encourages those who already hold racist views).

Bristol is a recognised City of Sanctuary, a status backed by Bristol City Council back in June 2011, and by well over 100 supporting agencies across many sectors. But whilst these labels & statuses are beneficial, when it comes to opposing central Government policies they can often be hamstrung. That is where street protests and direct actions in solidarity come in – see for example groups such as Bristol Anti-Raids (on FB)..

It is good to see local people taking to the streets in solidarity with those in need. As we head into 2021 amidst a Tory clusterfuck of Brexit, Covid-19 chaos, recession & austerity, and climate crisis, one thing is for sure – we need to be out on the streets and loud & direct about it, day after day after day.

(image credits: feature image – of solidarity protest in Kent taken from Bristol FB event; other – Opening Bristol’s Borders logo)