Monday, November 19, 2012

Protest in regional British city over immigration levels

A protest against "high-levels" of immigration in a Lincolnshire market town has taken place.  The Boston Protest Group said the "peaceful demonstration" was aimed at highlighting the pressure put on local services by migrant workers.

About 300 people gathered at the Herbert Ingram memorial for the demonstration, which organisers said was not aimed at individuals.

An estimated 9,000 foreign workers have settled in the town in recent years.

In the shadow of Boston Stump with the statue of the town's former MP Herbert Ingram as a backdrop, scores of people both young and old gathered for the protest.

They held banners ranging from "Free Us From The Shackles of Europe" to "Get Back Our Country".

Many told me they felt it was a chance for them to finally air their views in public after feeling they had been ignored too long by politicians.

There were impromptu speeches on a loudspeaker from some of the crowd, while organisers stressed their beef was not with migrants themselves but with the immigration policies of successive governments.

At one point there was even a good-natured conversation between a demonstrator and a Polish man who made the point he always worked hard himself but sympathised with the protesters and wished them well.

Protest organiser Dean Everitt said: "We had a good turnout of people, the right people, and we put our point across peacefully.

"I hope national government are going to know what we've done - we'll take it to Westminster until we get this issue sorted out."

He added: "We've proved a point - we're not right-wing thugs, we're not racists, we're just everyday people that are fed up and sick to the back teeth of migration.

"I work with Polish people and even they've said there are far too many here now."

But migrant worker Martins Zagers said some English people were not prepared to work in local factories because "it was a hard job".

"I work in a factory where there are only Polish, Latvian and Lithuanians," he said.

"From my side I am working hard and I will not take benefits - I am too proud to take benefits."

A protest march planned for last year was cancelled after the borough council agreed to set up a task force.

A report on population change was published as a result, but campaigners said it had not gone "far enough" and government still needed to listen.

The Home Office said it was working to cut net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and its tough new rules were already taking effect.

Mr Everitt said further protests were being organised - with the next one likely to take place in Spalding.


50 more Sri Lankans turned away from Australia

A FURTHER 50 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers have been forcibly sent home as the government struggles to cope with record boat arrivals.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday confirmed the largest involuntary transfer to Colombo to occur since Labor's tough new processing regime took effect on August 13.

"This latest group takes to 282 the number of Sri Lankans returned involuntarily," a statement from Mr Bowen read.

"The men were advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia."

This year there has been a dramatic spike in the number of Sri Lankan arrivals, resulting in the continued returns to Colombo.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare last night confirmed two new boat arrivals, with a combined 195 asylum-seekers on board. A third boat, carrying 53 asylum-seekers was intercepted on Saturday.

The vessel brought to 247 the number of boats to arrive in Australian waters this year, carrying 15,504 passengers, according to Customs. Detention centres continue to be swamped by detainees.

Last night 2224 asylum-seekers were being housed on Christmas Island, well over the planned capacity of 1500.

The Australian understands tents are being used at the facility for recreational purposes, but no asylum-seekers are sleeping in the makeshift accommodation.

Mainland detention centres are also near or at capacity, with tents also being used for recreational purposes.

At the tented facility on Nauru, tensions are continuing to escalate with another asylum-seeker being admitted to hospital as part of a hunger strike. Last week an Iranian asylum-seeker by the name of Omid was transferred to Nauru hospital after more than a month of voluntary starvation.

The Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul said an Iraqi had been admitted to hospital yesterday after eight days of starvation and kidney failure.

A total of 387 asylum-seekers are being housed on Nauru, with the latest transfer occurring last Monday.

Labor says transfers to Papua New Guinea's Manus Island will occur "shortly".


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