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Photo: Norman Thomas

Photo: Norman Thomas

Norman Thomas reports from a protest outside Manston camp against the mistreatment of refugees and racist rhetoric from Suella Braverman

Over 300 people protested on Sunday outside Manston migrants processing centre this Sunday calling for its closure.

Local councillor Candy Gregory said:

“This was a brilliant demonstration of international human solidarity. People will not tolerate a situation in which vulnerable people seeking asylum are treated as criminal invaders.”

“We have many problems in Thanet — a lack of decent jobs, the rising cost of living and the state of our NHS being among the greatest — and asylum seekers definitely aren’t one of them. Our biggest problem is a government which cares neither for the ordinary people who live here or the asylum seekers who need our help.”

“It is absolutely clear that the government is simply using the refugees to try to divert attention from the economic crisis they themselves have landed us in.”

Local councillor, Aram Rawf, himself previously an asylum seeker before gaining British citizenship, spoke at the demonstration. He said:

“No one should be taken in by what’s happening here. The government is simply using asylum-seekers as scapegoats for the effects of years of cuts and austerity. What the government needs to do is provide a safe route for asylum seekers to come to this country.”

The Manston migrant processing centre is unhealthy, inhumanity and illegal and has all the features of a concentration camp. It was supposed to be used to process asylum seekers and instead has been used to detain them in the most atrocious conditions. It must be closed down — and closed down now.

The Home Secretary and the media are using dog-whistle language to speak about the asylum seekers, talking about a ‘war’ and treating them as enemy invaders. This is highly dangerous. We’ve already had one terrorist attack on asylum seekers in Kent — does our government really want another?

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of solidarity with the demonstrators:

“All best and solidarity at Manston. Sorry not able to be there. Huge thanks to all there standing up for humanity!”

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