Students protest for open borders in Calais and Dover

The Gillard Government made a commitment in 2010 to release all children from immigration detention by June 2011, but still 1000 children languish in the harsh environment of immigration camps around Australia. The Refugee Action Collective organised a protest on July 9, 2011 outside the Melbourne Immigration Transit accommodation which is used for the detention of unaccompanied minors.

Demonstrations took place in Dover and Calais on Saturday 17th October, as students and activists stood up for migrants in Calais and continental Europe.

On Saturday 17th October, students from across the country, including cities such as Birmingham, Sussex and London, gathered in Dover and Calais to hold parallel protests against the treatment of those suffering as a result of the migrant crisis.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, a student group, initiated the protests. The group believe that migrants in Calais should be granted access to the UK, organising the protest under the banner of ‘Open Dover, Open Europe’.

“If someone is fleeing a war torn country […] we have no right to turn these people away”

The group cite the death of twelve migrants in Calais and at least 2000 deaths in the Mediterranean as motivation behind the movement, and believe that immigration control and borders are not the answer to the European migration crisis.

Emma Duffey, a second year History student, told Impact: “If someone is fleeing a war torn country and they’ve risked their life to come to the UK, then we have no right to turn these people away”.

“Borders are an entirely human concept in the first place”

Ellie Marshall, a second year Languages student believes that “borders are an entirely human concept in the first place, and to make people suffer because of a constructed line is ridiculous”.

Sahara James, of the NUS National Executive Committee, said: “We do not want to just alleviate this problem for the short term, we want to demand that this is never allowed to happen again.

“Our solution is simple: open the borders and provide safe and stable homes for migrants”.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts are also organising a national demonstration for free education with No Borders as a key demand, taking place in London on Wednesday November 4th.

Steven Green

Image: Takver via Flickr

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