Refugee protests in London
LONDON (AA) – Thousands of people filled the Parliament Square in central London Saturday afternoon to urge British government and European leaders to do more in what is described as the worst refugee crisis in the continent since the World War II.
“Say it loud, say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!” was the most common slogan at the rally that saw tens of thousands of people.
Newly elected leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn with the backing of 59.5 percent of party members, registered and affiliated supporters also joined the crowds at the Parliament Square and gave his first public speech.
“I have never seen the Parliament Square this beautiful,” told Corbyn on a platform as he addressed the loud crowds.
Corbyn urged the governments to help refugees in his speech.
He said: “Our objective ought to be to find peaceful solutions to the problems of this world.
“Today here in Parliament Square, we, as ordinary and descent people, stand up and say to our governments ‘recognize your obligations in law…to help people’. But above all, ‘open your hearts, open your minds and open your attitude toward supporting people who are desperate, who need somewhere safe to live.’”
People started to gather at Park Lane near Marble Arch early in the morning and marched down to the square via Dawning Street where prime ministry offices are located.
One of the protesters, Dr Khaled Kamaraldin from Syrian Revolutionary told Anadolu Agency that Syrians have been let down by the U.N. Security Council.
“We have a message to the U.N. Security Council: You have failed miserably in protecting the civilians. The Turkish government from the start has said ‘we need a no-flight zone in Syria’. Now we have 8 million refugees.
“We have been let down badly by the U.N. Security Council, by America… Russia and Iran are criminals. They are supporting a regime who barrel-bombs and uses chemicals on civilians,” Kamaraldin said.
The British government was criticized previous week over plans to accept around 4,000 refugees amid an outpouring of sympathy for refugees seeking safety in Europe after the horrific images of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed ashore in southern Turkey made the front pages of newspapers.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron had to revise the numbers and announced last Monday that the U.K. would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, which is still an unacceptably low number for many of the protesters.
Another protester, Peter Lockhart, a trade unionist told Anadolu Agency that “the U.K. should reach a settlement which is European-wide and not country-by-country basis.”
“What the U.K. should be doing, what David Cameron seems to be afraid of is two things: One is making any agreement with other European countries to take a fair share of people in need.
“Secondly, he is absolutely paranoid about seeming to allow refugees into the country… The U.K. is obviously a rich country and should do a lot more,” Lockhart said.
According to some of the event organizers, up to a 100,000 people joined the rally, which continued in the evening hours.
The U.N. estimates more than 220,000 victims have died since the civil war began and 10 million have been displaced — 6 million internally.
According to the U.N., there are 1.9 million Syrian refugees registered in Turkey alone as of Aug. 25.
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