Despite the changing weather 250 asylum seekers and their supporters bravely marched through central Bristol today to speak out about the myths, truths and suffering of people seeking asylum in the UK. It is the first time that Bristol’s asylum seeking community has called for and organised a march of this scale.
They marched from Easton, where many asylum seekers live, cheering outside the Bristol Refugee Rights Centre on Stapleton Road to celebrate the one place of safety and welcome asylum seekers are guaranteed in Bristol. The march continued to Trinity Road Police station, when many asylum seekers have to sign each week, stopping to speak out against frequent and arbitrary detention and deportation of asylum seekers.
The marchers continued down Old Market calling for an end to deportation, detention and destitution. They stopped outside the former Refugee Action office and Immigration Advisory Service building and spoke of devastating impacts of recent coalition cuts and asked the question“ How do we access justice when there is no funding for a fair trial?” The marchers walked onwards through a bustling Broadmead surprising shoppers by chanting “Seeking asylum is not a crime, we are human like you” Omid from Iran said “ It was amazing when we arrived at Broadmead. Many people didn't know anything about our problems before. We passed on our message that we have many problems and that we need solutions. In my country we are not free to demonstrate like this, I am happy to have the chance to talk about my situation here”
The event was brought to a close in Queen Square with passionate words from Caroline Beatty, from Bristol Refugee Rights said “Today is a landmark event for asylum seekers in Bristol. It is the first time that asylum seekers have come out on the street with determination to be heard and to stand up with dignity and tell the world how it really is.”
Anybody who knows a little about the English Defence League knows that their claims to be merely against "Islamic extremism" is just a front for their deeper, more sinister agenda. While the EDL may claim to be non-racist and anti-fascist, the core of their movement is made up of fascists and Nazi sympathizers. One example of this is Mickey Bayliss. Mickey recently appeared in the local rag, The Post, presenting himself as a friendly face of the English Defence League. Mickey Bayliss identified himself as one of the organisers of the Bristol demo to take place on Saturday July 14th. Like most people involved in the EDL, Mickey claims that the organisation isn't racist or homophobic and claims that "any racist chanting, would be identified and reported to the police."
A quick online search of Mickey Bayliss's moniker (the oh-so original Mickey English Bayliss) brings you straight to this page (http://edlnews.co.uk/index.php/featured-stories/edl-nazis/310-mickey-english-bayliss) where Mickey's Nazi saluting photo is presented along with a host of other information.
Mickey Bayliss may be an extreme case of fascism within the English Defence League but if the so-called organiser of the Bristol EDL demo has been photographed giving Nazi salutes at previous demos, what strength does that give to his claims that the EDL are a non-racist, anti-fascist organisation? If Mickey Bayliss is claiming that he will report all "rogue elements" within the march to the Police then he should start with himself! It is up to all of us to oppose the English Defence League when they come to Bristol on July 14th! Bristol Anti-Fascists has already put out a call-out for people to oppose the EDL:
OPPOSE THE EDL MARCH IN BRISTOL
Activists from Bristol Against the Arms Trade and Bath Stop The Drones claim a victory as Drone conference moved away from Bath.
Following a raucous protest in Bristol, and a packed out public meeting in Bath, the Clarion Events UAV conference had to be moved to deepest darkest Wiltshire. The Defence Acadamy near Shrivenham is managed by Clanfield University and the MOD. Safely protected by barbed wire and a police presence the conference commenced whilst members of BAAT unfurled their banners and made, what has become a trade mark of theirs, lots of noise.
Taranis is the next generation of unmanned fighter plane. This drone has no civilian role and is a “threat to 50 years of international law according to Christof Heyns of the United Nations. Activists say this is not only unlawful but will lead to greater threat of terror in the western world. So far the drone program has clocked up 34,000 drone hours, fired 281 Hellfire missiles and killed 1800 people.
The body of international law that governs conduct in war, enshrines the principle of distinction, which requires parties of a conflict to distinguish between combatants and civilians. To ensure civilian immunity from acts of violence. The evidence emerging from Pakistan and Palestine is of high civilian casualties. Noel Sharkley, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at Sheffield University highlights: “The further away you are the easier it is to kill… its changing the nature of war dramatically”
Update: The EDL demo has had the time changed to start later in the day, so the counter-demo start time is now 11am at Temple Meads
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