Saturday 13 September saw a huge demonstration sweep through London, with around 300,000 people marching from Marble Arch to Parliament Square on the streets to show solidarity with refugees, and to demand better treatment for asylum seekers in Britain and across the EU.
Similar protests were held in other towns and cities, including Cardiff, Swansea, Chester, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Wakefield, Bristol, Dover, Birmingham, Exeter, Oxford, Chichester, Henley-on-Thames, Newcastle upon Tyne, York, Sheffield, Kirkwall and Falmouth.
The protesters were addressed at Parliament Square by Jeremy Corbyn, as his first official act as the newly elected Labour party leader, proclaiming his support for the plight of the refugees.
The conscience of the British people has been moved by the picture of the poor dead little Syrian child, Aylan Kurdi, lying on a Turkish beach, drowned along with his mother and brother. His family was fleeing from the horrors being inflicted in Kobane by the terrorist IS organisation. These terrorists have been created and funded by imperialism to further its attempts to overthrow Syria’s legitimate elected government headed by President Assad.
The devastating picture of Aylan followed hard on the heels of news of 71 refugees having been found dead in a lorry abandoned on an Austrian highway at the end of August. As the British people came to realise that these deaths were only the tip of an iceberg of deaths suffered by fleeing refugees, many signed an online petition to demand that the government welcome refugees instead of demonising them.
The British government has responded by promising to take in some 5,000 a year, though it was soon made clear that this grudging minimalist concession is to be curtailed in every way possible, with all the under-18s who are admitted to be deported as soon as they reach that age.
In actual fact, although the government has seemed to be responding to the humanitarian demands of the British public, offering a genuine welcome to refugees would fly in the face of the constant anti-immigrant, anti-asylum seeker propaganda that characterises all European imperialist governments, regardless of the party in power.
Normally, these governments and the imperialist media warn of impending societal breakdown, and bourgeois politicians talk of hordes of invaders. All this rhetoric would make you think that Britain is faced with armed invasion, when in fact it is a question of defenceless refugees fleeing from the chaos and misery that British imperialism and its allies have created with their aggression in the Middle East and elsewhere. Presently, a significant number of refugees are from Syria, where marauding proxy jihadi armies have been tearing the country apart.