United Kingdom. Activists want to prevent the deportation of migrants to Rwanda

Activists rallied outside a south London hotel on Thursday to prevent migrants being moved to alternative accommodation as the government carries out operations to arrest people in irregular situations before deporting them to Rwanda.

The controversial law, passed on April 23, aims to deport thousands of migrants to the East African country, where their asylum claims will be assessed, without the possibility of returning to the UK, regardless of the outcome. The British government has indicated it wants to start deportations within nine to 11 weeks and has begun arresting migrants.

Bus blocking

On Thursday, in Pekham, south London, dozens of people tried to block a bus they thought was transporting illegal migrants to the Bibby Stockholm, a boat installed in the port of Portland, Dorset, an AFP journalist noted.

The boat was chartered by the authorities last year to accommodate several hundred migrants in order to reduce the cost of housing asylum seekers, according to the government.

The Minister of the Interior reacts

Local police at X claimed to have intervened at around 7.40am on Thursday and “warned the protesters that they could be arrested”.

“We will not allow a small group of students posing on social media to stop us from doing what is right for the British,” UK Home Secretary James Cleverly responded to X.

Other similar mobilizations have also taken place in recent days near the immigration centers of the Ministry of the Interior, where migrants and asylum seekers have regular meetings.

The government wants to limit crossings across the Channel

Citing Soas Detainee Support, the Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that three asylum seekers were arrested at one such center in Croydon, south London, during a routine visit. One of them then learned that he would be deported to Rwanda.

The operations come as the number of migrants crossing the English Channel has broken an all-time record with more than 8,000 arrivals on English shores in the first four months of 2024.

On Wednesday, 711 migrants arrived in the UK on 14 small boats, the most for a single day this year so far. In addition, 66 migrants, including women and children, were rescued off the coast of France’s Dieppe on Wednesday when their boat ran into trouble. According to French authorities, they were brought back to Dieppe.

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