Refugees Are Welcome, Say London Protesters


Londoners march Saturday to express solidarity with refugees arriving in Europe. Photo by Ghazali Khan
Londoners march Saturday to express solidarity with refugees arriving in Europe. Photos by Ghazali Khan

“Open your Hearts, Open your Minds” Towards Asylum Seekers, Urges Labor’s New Leader

M Ghazali Khan

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]ens of thousands of demonstrators converging from all around into central London marched to Downing Street, the precinct where the British Prime lives then gathering into a public meeting at Parliament Square, demanded the Government give asylum to Syrian refugees fleeing the massacre by Bashar al Assad and ISIS.

Representing almost all races and all ages men, women and children held placards with captions, “We are here because you are there”; “Globalise compassion not just commerce”; “Refugees are welcome here”; “Assad’s bombing drives refugees to fee, No Fly zone now”.

Shouting slogans, “Say loud say clear, refugees are welcome here”; “Say loud, say clear, no more deportations”, the demonstrators assembled at Parliament Square where they were addressed by several speakers including Jeremy Corbyn, newly elected leader of the Labour Party, a veteran left wing politician and a committed human rights campaigner.

After the confirmation of his victory Mr Corbyn headed straight to address the rally where amid loud cheers of supporters welcoming him as the new Labor leader, he said, “I have never seen Parliament Square looking so filled, so beautiful and so happy as on this day. When I was declared elected as leader of the Labour party three and half hours ago I announced to our conference that my first action in this news position as leader of the Labour Party would be to come to a demonstration in support of refugees, their right to asylum and human needs of people all over the world.”

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Corbyn urged the British Government to, “Recognise your obligations to help people which you’re required to do by law that would be good. But above all, open your hearts and open your minds and open your attitude towards supporting people who are desperate, who need somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society, and are human beings just like all of us. Together in peace, together in justice, together in humanity, that surely must be our way forward.”

One of the most popular and principled MPs, Jeremy Corbyn has a large number of immigrant communities in his constituency in North London and has always enjoyed admiration and respect. He played a very positive role in the reopening of Finsbury Park Mosque after a long controversy and legal wrangling.

Known for what a large number in his party view him as extreme left winger, Corbyn is one of the most prominent human rights and anti-war campaigners.

jeremy corbyn labor leader afp getty images

Jeremy Corbyn is known for his strong anti-war stance and pro-poor views

The 60-year old politician known for his strong commitment to human rights is a strict vegetarian and non-alcoholic. Often seen using public transport or riding his bicycle, he has even been criticized by Tory MPs for his simple dress.

So strong are his principles and his belief in equality that the decision by his second wife some 20 years ago to send their son to a grammar school led to their split.

His anti-war stand has been giving former Labor prime minister Tony Blair sleepless nights who tried his best to prevent Corbyn from winning the party leadership. Expressing his views on UK-US invasion of Iraq in interview to BBC2 News Night program, Corbyn had said, “I think it was an illegal war,” adding that former UN secretary general had confirmed that. “Therefore he (Blair) has to explain that”.

Asked whether Blair should be charged with war crimes, he said: “If he’s committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who’s committed a war crime should be.”

Many of Blarites are reported to be threatening to quit the Labor party while those who had left the party because of Tony Blair’s policies are reported to have re-joined. In his victory speech while Corbyn welcomed new members he made special mention of, “…those returning to the Party who were in it before and felt disillusioned and went away, are welcome back. Welcome back to your Party, welcome home.”

With as radical views as Jeremy Corbyn has if he keeps the Labor Party united and manages to lead it to victory this will not only be a turning point in British politics but world politics too.


Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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