Britain has a proud tradition of protecting refugees. And earlier this month, people across the UK were out in force to show that refugees are welcome here.
In London, the Refugee Council gathered a contingent of staff, volunteers, and members of the public answering our call from social media.
Tens of thousands marched in London, starting at Marble Arch where Maurice Wren, our CEO, addressed enthusiastic crowds, acknowledging overwhelming public support and calling on Britain to do more to protect refugees.
One Refugee Council volunteer said “The atmosphere was incredible. There was no feeling of negativity or ill-will. It was a day for humans saying to other humans – we are here, we support you, we welcome you in our country.”
The march ended in Parliament Square where an electric audience was addressed by the newly elected Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, among others.
Refugee Council Advocacy Manager Dr. Lisa Doyle said “It was great. The point at Piccadilly when I could see just how far the crowds stretched, and how many people were there, was a really moving moment.”
Across the UK, people said refugees welcome in York, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester.
In other news – last week in London, artists Anish Kapoor and Ai Wei Wei marched from the Royal Academy, where Wei Wei’s new exhibition has just opened, to the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Kapoor’s sculpture at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
They were joined by supporters along the way to ask for a ‘more human and less political’ response to the refugee crisis unfolding across Europe, bringing symbolic blankets with them.
Refugee Council were there to receive the blankets and acknowledge the gesture of solidarity with refugees.