Saturday 30th June Bristol, asylum seekers and their friends and supporters will march to the city centre, via some of the places which effect their lives.
11.30 LEAVE FROM Stapleton Road, train station, Easton by Eastside Roots Garden Centre,
MARCH to to Queens Square, Bristol City Centre, ARRIVE approximately 13.30
The organisers (Dignity for Asylum Seekers) are calling this march to highlight the abuse suffered by people seeking asylum in the UK and to challenge the myths about why they came to the UK. They chose to march, to bring these issues to the street, so that the real situation of asylum seekers is no longer hidden. The group is led by people in the asylum process.
Felicia from the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone said, “Today we want to tell the people what we are going through. We have been suffering so much. But people don't know. They think we are taking their money and their houses, which is not correct. Some of us are living on £5 a week, can you imagine?”
Afshar Zarai, explained why he left Iran,“ I fled because my life was at risk, I came here and I claimed asylum, but my case has been refused, if they send me back to my country, definitely I would be hung.”
The group will visit and make short speeches at places which have an effect on the lives of those seeking asylum. Such as Trinity Road police station, the closed Refugee Action office on Old Market and the Legal Services commission in Queen's Square.
Many of these asylum seekers have been waiting for a long time for their cases to be decided. One placard on the demonstration will read, “Fourteen Years, I Still Wait.”
Esam Amin, from Iraq, said, “The Home Office, often don't believe what we say. But the asylum system is like a torture and today we are taking our real stories to the streets of Bristol. We hope that people will listen to us and join with us.”
Asylum seekers on the march are supported by a number groups including Bristol Refugee Rights, Refugee Women of Bristol, the Bristol Hospitality Network and Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers campaign. This is the first time they have marched together in Bristol for all asylum seekers. Alice Cutler who is working with Dignity for Asylum Seekers said, “We hope that support for today's march will send a strong message of welcome and help create concrete, positive change.”