Friday’s protest outside the UK Border Agency in Cardiff was the largest one to date with over 200 people, mostly refugees. The demonstration lasted three hours and featured speeches, chanting, dancing and a lot of energy. The demonstration was organised by Refugee Voice Wales with prominent members of Zimbabwean, Congolese, Kurdish and other community groups taking a leading role.

In this media age there was unsurprisingly a number of people tweeting short reports, uploading photos and providing live audio direct from the demonstration. Further full reports have already appeared on local radical blogs Everyone’s Favourite ComradeCryptonomicon and Welsh Green Dragon, which includes a number of audio interviews and this video:

As well as No Borders, there was support from across the spectrum of local progressive organisations including Wales Green Party, Asylum JusticeSouth Wales Anarchists, Socialist Party WalesIWW Cymru, UAF Wales, and Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers.

In the past protests outside the UKBA offices at 31-33 Newport Road have been relatively small affairs with only fifty people at most. There has been a justifiable fear amongst people seeking asylum that attending a demonstration would harm their claim. We applaud everyone who had the bravery to take a stand and hope it represents the start of  a broad based campaign against the injustices of the border regime.

Refugee Voice Wales stated over the megaphone that they will be calling more protests every month until there is an independent inquiry, the suspension of all deportations and a review of all cases from the Cardiff office (full list of demands). No Borders South Wales give full backing to this call and will be doing our utmost to mobilise as much support as possible for all future demonstrations. We urge everyone who is concerned about the behaviour of the UK Border Agency and the wider issues of migration controls to attend.

Earlier in the day the chief executive of the UKBA Lin Homer was interviewed on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Programme, where among other ludicrous claims she says:

“I think we are well on to the way to becoming a world class asylum system.”

which would be highly amusing if it wasn’t so depressing.

Lots of people from the protest went to Refugee Rhythms at Cardiff University in the evening where apart from the music and dancing, over £800 was raised for the hardship fund for destitute asylum seekers.