WAST march on UKBA Liverpool

Photo credit: Graeme Lamb Media

On Friday 29th July, members of the Manchester-based Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) and supporters from the community marched from Liverpool’s St. George’s Hall to the UK Borders Agency headquarters.

The march was well-attended, consisting mainly of women and children in the process of seeking Asylum, as well as local activists, friends and supporters. With so many young children on the march, it was especially worrying when six members of the English Defence League appeared. We already knew that the North West Infidels contingent of the EDL were particularly vile, but turning out to harass mothers and children for seeking to escape from rape, torture and violence was a new low even for them. That said, nobody was intimidated and few bothered to engage with them. They, themselves, just held out their flags and seemed a little uncertain as to why they were there or what they wanted to say, in contrast to the women of WAST whose placards, chants, songs and pamphlets presented a strong, clear message: seeking asylum is not a crime.

It seems that "challenging militant Islam" and "harrassing mothers and children fleeing persecution" are the same thing to Liverpool EDL

After the march, women spoke of the violence and oppression they had sought to escape, and of the further violence and oppression they were facing as a direct result of an asylum system that treats them as criminals and leaves them without enough money to live on, or the right to legally earn it. After the speakers, the WAST choir sang songs about freedom, exile and better times to come.

WAST’s list of demands for the UKBA can be found on the Facebook event for the march, and covered the need for legal aid, support for women who have suffered violence, an end to detention and destitution and a recognition of the human rights of asylum seekers’ children.

You can find out more about WAST and donate to them on their web site, www.wast.org.uk.

12 Responses to “WAST march on UKBA Liverpool”
  1. Ed says:

    I don’t really care about a few confused EDL types hanging around with a flag. But WAST seems like a really good organisation, so I was pleased to read about this despite some hard-nationalist idiots getting annoyed about it. I wish all the best to WAST and migrants of all sorts seeking to get on with their lives against the shit the capitalist state throws at them.

  2. Jack Thorne says:

    I remember watching newsround as a youngling and seeing an asylum seeker on it, she had to leave her country or she would of been killed because her dad had done something or other, We kindly let her in to this country and she had gone on the television to complain about the state of the house she had been given. This annoyed me.

    • Emma Pooka says:

      Why, exactly? If somebody’s been through all that, and been given something that should be the basic right of everybody, do they forfeit any right to complain about poor treatment?
      Why would you take that as a personal affront, anyway, is it you who chooses the housing?

      • Marmite says:

        If the truth was known, it was probably just the media looking for a story. Rather than objectively report on the horrors tht these people have to live through, and thereby presumably generate some sympathy for asylum seekers, they focus on one woman who has a problem with her accommodation. How big a problem? Could it be that she’d just asked the council to, say, turn the water back on? Or could it be that she was complaining because they’d dumped her in somewhere that was practically uninhabitable?

        Just to go slightly off at a tangent, I get totally pissed off with people who really should be better informed, complaining about illegal immigrants as though they’d flown here in a first class jumbo jet, expecting to land in a holiday camp. The reality is that breaking into Britain is difficult, arduous, uncomfortable in the extreme, and often very dangerous. And when immigrants arrive here, they end up living and working in atrocious conditions for virtual slave labour wages, all while facing the constant threat of deportation.

        Perhaps one day we’ll learn to look beyond the colour of someone’s skin, or their ethnic origin, or which country they’ve come from, and simply accept people as people; living breathing, sensate human beings, just the same as you and I.

      • Jack Thorne says:

        Its called being grateful that someone has offered to put you up and help you, Its like if i donated a cardigan to a charity bag that comes round (which i will add i do once a month.. I’m suprised i even own clothes, Only Zoes place though as i think the children need lots of help) And then it being rejected for being an unsuitable colour – I just think that if you have the choice between living in a shit hole where you are going to be raped and killed, or living in a shit hole where you probably aren’t, You should maybe count your blessings? And i know it doesn’t personally affect me but surely there are things that don’t personally affect you in the world that irritate you? It isn’t me who chooses the housing but then is also isnt me that funds the inevitable heart transplant for children whos parents feed them on iceland ready meals, Fuck all to do with me but seeing these little children shaped like balls running round screaming “mummy i want another slice of pizza with my kebab” while his mother smokes an entire packet of cigarettes and talks to one of his many “uncles” on the phone really annoys me, See what i mean? Probably not? but thats because you’ve already decided I’m wrong before you even read this haven’t you,

        Also I’m in no way attacking WAST or any Assylum seekers i was simply stating that story i heard on the news once, It may or may not of been true, but the expression looking a gift horse in the mouth springs to mind.
        The government are obviously not these peoples enemy’s as they grant them refuge from there horrible lives in he 3rd world. I imagine its a very hard job to run a country so obviously some spending cuts etc have to be made, So not granting everyone assylum is a fair point in my eyes… but i can’t see a fair way of picking and choosing who comes here, maybe we should just take over the world again.. then everyone can live in england 😀 that would be the problem solved… Don’t think we have the military for that since the budget cuts though…

        • Phil Dickens says:

          Its called being grateful that someone has offered to put you up and help you

          No, it’s not. It’s called demanding that people accept whatever shit’s heaped upon them just because the other pile of shit is worse. It’s the same contemptible logic which condemns strikers if any other group of workers don’t quite have it as good as them. Instead of “there’s kids starving in Africa so eat your veg,” it’s “there’s kids starving in Africa so be grateful when I spit in your food.”

          • Jack Thorne says:

            It’s not really though is it Phil.

          • Phil Dickens says:

            You demand that, because they get asylum here, they criticise nothing. So yeah, it is.

          • Jack Thorne says:

            Its not though, However I’m feeling quite content at the moment, I think its because i have just changed my bed sheets, I always feel happy with a fresh bed.. I expect i will sleep very well with the smell of linen softner under my face. Anyway yes im feeling quite relaxed and content, so i will just ignore everyones complete intolerance to listen to anyone elses opinion without causing an argument and agree with you both.
            Everyone can have what they wish for and complain about it all they like, this after all is the best way for everything. Then end. Bash the fash! Down with Thatcher etc etc

          • Phil Dickens says:

            everyones complete intolerance to listen to anyone elses opinion without causing an argument

            1) Pot. Kettle. Hobarse. All you do on this site is disagree and argue, usually for disingenuous reasons. So, if that’s “intolerance,” you’re as guilty as anyone.

            2) Free speech includes the right to disagree. Otherwise, y’know, it’s not actually free speech.

        • Emma Pooka says:

          You’ll note that Zoe’s Place and other charity shops, while they aren’t bothered about the colour of a donated cardigan, do ask that the clothes you donate are clean, in good repair and meet basic safety requirements. This is all asylum seekers ask of their housing, and it’s a pretty reasonable request.
          What you’re not taking into account is that there’s a historical and economic context to both the conditions people are escaping and the conditions they’re being placed in when they come here. The reason half the world’s at war and in poverty is because the other half have historically been the colonial powers that completely fucked their infrastructure and are now forcing them to take high-interest loans that they’ll never be able to repay and making it part of the conditions that they open up their resources to yet more exploitation by US and European markets. So essentially this wealth you suggest we’re generously offering to people escaping the effects of poverty is wealth we’ve stolen from them in the first place, and that the ruling class continue to benefit from.
          By putting asylum seekers in miserable conditions and not granting them the legal right to work, we create an underclass who will do shit jobs for less than minimum wage and keep quiet about the conditions because they’re under threat of deportation. Again, it’s the ruling class who benefit from this.
          Allowing migration and asylum isn’t a question of charity, it’s a question of recognising that, in the bigger picture, we need to take the wealth back. It isn’t the UK’s money with the rest of the world coming for it, it’s the UK ruling class’s wealth that’s been generated by the world’s working class, and the world’s working class – whether native to the UK, Asylum Seekers or economic migrants – need to work together to take it back. There’s enough for all of us if we stop turning against each other and concentrate on the real enemy.
          There are also economic and social factors governing the situation when kids don’t eat healthily that have less to do with their mothers’ behaviour than you imagine – but that’s another debate.

  3. Marmite says:

    Who said this woman wasn’t grateful? She could have been grateful to the local authority for finding her accommodation, yet still have needed to alert them to defects in the property.

    On the other hand, she could have received such a mauling, firstly from the authorities in the country she’d fled from, then from the arduous tussle with the immigration authorities here, then fom local racists, that she was past feeling grateful to anyone.

    But since when has gratitude been an issue? This woman is a human being for god’s sake, and human beings deserve certain basic standards of existence. For the rest of this argument see Emma’s comments above on the international economy, or how the West is screwing the rest of the world.

    It’s sad that we can let third world sweat shop produced goods into Britain, thus ratcheting up the profits of Primark and Tesco, to name but two outlets. But let the third world workers who produced those self same goods in here? Not a chance.

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