Assemble in Park Lane and march to Parliament Square.
Last September, the image of 3 year old Aylan Kurdi’s body on a Turkish beach horrified the world. 100,000 of us marched in London in response to tell our government that we want to welcome refugees in the UK, and to stop the drowning. Since then, thousands more terrified and desperate refugees, including hundreds of children, have lost their lives trying to reach safety in Europe.
This September, world leaders will meet to discuss the refugee crisis at two crucial summits. This is the biggest opportunity of 2016 to show our government and the world that Britain is ready to welcome more refugees.
Many British people have responded to the tragedy they see unfolding on their doorstep with extraordinary displays of humanity and generosity. They’ve been moved to act after seeing many thousands trapped in camps in Greece without running water or baby formula; thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean as refugees seek increasingly dangerous routes to safety since the closing of borders and the sea route from Turkey; the continuing misery of the camp in Calais; the injustices and inefficiencies of Britain’s own asylum system.
80% of Britons want our government to do more to help. Polls now show that 1 in 4 of us would welcome a refugee in our own home. We want to tell the government that we are waiting to help. The UK should be leading the way and working with other states to give refugees safe, legal routes to asylum, ending the trade in people smuggling.
Since the referendum campaign and vote, divisive rhetoric has been ever more prevalent from a small but vocal minority. In the light of this, the need to come together in a spirit of welcome has become even more acute. Most of us are keen to welcome refugees, and we need to make it clear to everyone that this is the case.
Last year, in the week of our demonstration, the government agreed to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees. We know that public pressure can make a difference.
So save the day to help refugees on 17 September. Join us and make your voice heard!
The full (and very wonderful!) list of organisations supporting this event can be seen here.
Before the march, there will be an ecumenical service of prayer for refugees at 12 noon at St James’ Roman Catholic Church, Spanish Place, 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY. Participants will then walk together to Park Lane. Details here.