United for Change led a rally, march and candle-lit vigil in Manchester city centre on Thursday 12th November. The action called for an end to the forced destitution of people seeking asylum.
Despite driving rain, supporters came from every corner of Greater Manchester to donate food and clothes and sign a petition calling on the government to give people seeking asylum permission to work while they wait for a decision on their case.
Protesters were joined by local singer–songwriter Claire Mooney and MP for Bury South, Ivan Lewis, to recognise the plight of refugees around the world and spotlight the problem faced by people who have fled persecution and will be homeless and hungry in Greater Manchester this winter. The rally was compered by Mariam from United for Change with contributions from WAST, Boaz, City of Sanctuary and United for Change. The vigil was covered by BBC Radio Manchester.
In a statement of support, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities and MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, lamented how “Our government shamefully, disgracefully, let’s down those in need” and “shames us in the eyes of the world.”
The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said “Manchester owes a great debt of gratitude to those who have come here from across the globe, bringing their skills, experience and energy, in order to make their own contribution to the welfare and wellbeing of the whole community […] Once again, this winter, churches and others will be providing food and shelter to those who would otherwise be added to the numbers who sleep rough on our streets. And very soon we will be called on to play our part in welcoming those who have fled from war and terror in Syria. We have this new challenge to which we can and must rise. I believe we have both the will and the capacity in Greater Manchester to do so.”
Click here to read the press release: Press Release – Shadow Minister for Women and Equlaities Slams Government Policy on Refugees
Photos courtesy of Mohsen Sadeghi Nejas.