Protesters have taken to the streets in cities across the UK in an anti-racism demonstration organized in part in response to the government’s Illegal Migration Bill.
The demonstrations, organized by Stand Up To Racism and STUC, took place in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.
Organizers said thousands of people took part in the action against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, fascism and the far right.
At a march to Downing Street, protesters, many carrying signs reading “No Human is Illegal” and union logos, said the demonstration was partly a response to the government’s “inhumane” Illegal Migration Bill.
The controversial law, introduced by Home Secretary Suella Braverman last week, would see asylum claims from refugees entering the UK illegally, such as e.g. crossing the English Channel in a boat, shall be considered unacceptable.
Ms Braverman is on a trip to Rwanda this weekend to reiterate her commitment to the government’s policy of deporting migrants to the African state.
Maria Frazier, 75, said she protested the government because she agreed with Gary Lineker’s comment and compared some of the language used in connection with immigration policy to that of 1930s Germany.
Speaking outside the BBC’s central London headquarters, the retired South London speech and language therapist said: “We believe there should be an indefinite general strike and the Tories should be ousted through class action lawsuits.
“They have some pretty violent programs they’re trying to implement – they’re trying to ban strikes, they’re deporting immigrants – they’re not British.
“Lineker was right when he said that the methods they use have nuances of the German Empire.
“People are walking out because they are extremely angry at the way the economy is being run and the deprivation that is taking place while the rich in power are enriching themselves.”
Images released on social media show a busload of protesters wearing masks of Lineker’s face, 62, before he returns to TV screens to present live coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester City and Burnley.
He is making his first appearance on the BBC on Saturday since he was told to step down from hosting the Match Of The Day (MOTD) for impartial reasons.
Lizi Cushen, 39, said she joined the anti-racism protest in London with her husband and sons, aged four and six, because she was “shocked” by the scandal surrounding missing refugee children from Home Office hotels.
Ms Cushen, an architect from Leyton, north-east London, said: “The Illegal Migration Act dehumanizes anyone seeking asylum.
“It’s important to protest because right now it’s the only way to be seen and heard.”
Speaking about the law, her friend Cassi Harrison, 42, who works for the charity, said: “It’s just outrageous.
“We see quite a few Government Ministers saying they speak for the broader British public and we want to be here to say they don’t speak for us.”
Ms Cushen’s sons held up signs calling for “safe passage for all children like me”.
Planning officer Mark Daly, 65, who traveled from Horsham, Sussex, said he wanted to oppose the government’s “racist” law.
“The government is trying to make these people not only unwelcome but illegal. We can’t classify people as illegal, it’s a racist policy by a racist government,” he said.