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UK-FRANCE: Press release - Convoy to Calais, Saturday 18 June 2016
15 June 2016
Press release from the People's Assembly Against Austerity
Hundreds of vehicles will be leaving Whitehall on Saturday 18th June as part of a Convoy to Calais in what will be the largest display of solidarity with refugees this country has seen for generations. As the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War unfolds across the channel, lorries, cars and minibuses will be making the crossing, taking aid donations and with the aim of pressuring the UK government to provide safe passage to those fleeing desperate situations and sending a clear message that refugees are welcome here.
The Convoy was initiated by the People's Assembly, Stop the War Coalition and Stand Up to Racism and is supported by trade unions including UNISON, Unite, CWU, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, FBU, faith groups including the Muslim Association of Britain, and charities including Humanitas and Care4Calais who work in the camp.
At a time when racist rhetoric and anti-immigration scaremongering is poisoning the debate over the forthcoming EU Referendum, campaigners feel that the timing of the event is important. A recent survey conducted on behalf of Amnesty International indicated that 70% of UK residents think that the government should be doing more 'to help those fleeing war and persecution.'
People's Assembly National Secretary Sam Fairbairn said:
'Hundreds of vehicles and people from across the country are joining us in a huge show of solidarity with refugees and in sending a clear message to the Tory government that we will not tolerate their racist rhetoric. The government seem intent on scapegoating minorities and blaming migrants and refugees for the problems that have been caused by their own austerity measures. We have seen what was probably the most racist election campaign since Smethwick and Cameron's reference to 'swarms' of migrants tells you all you need to know about their attitude to the refugee crisis.
The situation in Calais is desperate. Attempts to clear the camp have seen peoples homes burned to the ground and governments are refusing to take responsibility for the refugee crisis. The establishment of 'Fortress Europe' and a shameful EU-Turkey deal sees people thrown back into the jaws of war and returned to homes and lives that have been destroyed. This means that the Convoy to Calais is more important than ever. We are demanding that action is taken and safe passage is given to refugees'
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Convoy to Calais will be assembling at Whitehall from 8.30am with a rally at Parliament Square prior to the Convoy departure at 9.30am - details including the itinerary can be found here
The Convoy is organised by the People's Assembly, Stop the War and Stand Up to Racism and is supported by the Muslim Association of Britain, UNISON, Unite, CWU, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, FBU, TSSA, Humanities, Care4Calais, Woodcraft Folk, BARAC and others. For a full list of supporters see here