Waterside Court, the Leeds Immigration Office was blockaded by 25 protestors to mark the 1st anniversary of the Government’s cruel asylum legislation.
8th January 2004
Waterside Court, the Home Office Immigration office which processes asylum claims had both the car park and pedestrian gates locked whilst protestors blockaded both entrances and leafleted pedestrians and drivers. Banners were displayed in front of the building with slogans of “No to Destitution, Asylum to all those who seek it” and “No Borders, Freedom of Movement”. The protest lasted 2 hours and ended peacefully.
The protest was to raise awareness and draw attention to the effects of Section 55 of the Government’s Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which came into force a year ago today. Over the past year this legislation has made 7,500 Asylum Seekers destitute, many of whom then became homeless.
The legislation gave the Home Office powers to deny asylum seekers access to support services if they did not apply for asylum ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. Subsequent legislation has attempted to separate asylum seekers from their children if they refuse to leave the country, as well as revoking their right to appeal. This legislation is being challenged under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Groups have all across the country have been taking action today and will be taking action over the weekend to mark their disgust at Section 55 and its impact. There are also many groups nationwide providing what support they can for those made destitute by this heartless, politically motivated legislation.
One participant in the Leeds actions said:
“Leeds is a multi-cultural city and it is important to let refugees know that they are welcome here. We have a duty to give people access to public services who are fleeing from their country because of violence against them, wars or lack of work. They aren’t coming here out of choice - the weathers awful! We should at least show some human kindness.”
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