Protesters outside Parliament decry the conviction of the ‘Stansted 15’
Students joined a protest against the conviction of the ‘Stansted 15’ and wider ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.
The protest, which involved hanging banners off the side of Westminster Bridge, setting off smoke bombs and chanting, was held early on Tuesday morning.
It kicked off a day of protests with another event planned outside the Home Office for later on.
The ‘Stansted 15’ is a group of 15 protesters who broke into Stansted Airport in March 2017 and used peaceful means to stop a flight, chartered by the Home Office, from taking off. The flight was deporting 60 migrants to Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
On 10 December this year, they were found guilty under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, a law passed in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. They now face a life sentence in prison.
The protest was on the bridge from 8:20 until 9:00 am. Police arrived at 8:45 but left shortly afterwards.
Numerous activism groups from across London were involved in the protest including KCL Justice for Cleaners, North London Sisters Uncut and Unis Resist Border Controls.
Jasmine Ahmed, member of North London Sisters Uncut and recent graduate from Queen Mary, told London Student, “Peaceful protest is an incredibly important way to hold the state to account for the violence that they keep perpetrating against the most vulnerable people.
“That’s part of this as well, we’re seeing this verdict as some kind of warning of the state against people trying to interfere with the hostile environment policies and we’re not going have that. We’re not going to let them keep perpetrating this violence.“
The protest was part of countrywide protests with similar action happening in 17 other cities.
The day of action was called by Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) along with End Deportations.
Sanaz Raji, a member of URBC, told London Student, “As someone who is a precarious migrant, I am impacted by these dangerous policies.
“So we thought International Migrants Day would be a good time to have a national day of action and to use our collective voices. To give solidarity to the Stansted 15 whose brave action highlights the embedded racism of UK’s immigration laws and the absurdity of how anti-terrorism laws are being use to thwart our ability to protest.”
Featured Image Credit: Daisy Schofield