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Between 4.30 and 6pm last night a number of us joined around 20 other people for a vigil at the top of Queen Street in the centre of Cardiff. The vigil was organised by the Anti Poverty Network Cymru and aimed to raise awareness and protest against refugee destitution. The event caught the attention of many passers-by who stopped to read the messages and find out what was going on. The reaction was very positive and people were truly shocked at the way that the government treats refugees and its use of destitution as a means of attempting to starve people out of the country.
The protest also provided a much needed opportunity for people to network with other groups who shared similar feelings about the terrible treatment of migrants by the government. With the prospect of even more draconian legislation in the form of the draft Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill and the further dehumanisation of migrants that this Bill, if implemented, will bring, it is even more paramount that we begin to work together and build a more coherent movement to fight against this regime.
We need to refute the artificial divisions imposed between different categories of migrants by the government and media. Between those that deserve (refugees) and those that don’t (‘bogus asylum seekers’ or ‘illegal immigrants’). It is only through standing in solidarity with all migrants, regardless of why they have come, that we will be able to build a truly powerful movement capable of bring about lasting and significant social change. Let’s hope some of the conversations had last night were only the beginning. Here’s to a stronger, more united fight for equality and freedom of movement for all!