City leaders to stage Portsmouth rally in support of refugees

Yazen Atia and a group of friends from Al Burrito in Southsea helped with donations to refugees
Yazen Atia and a group of friends from Al Burrito in Southsea helped with donations to refugees
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  • Politicians to give speeches at Guildhall Square
  • Calls made for government to provide extra support so refugees can be welcomed into communities
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CAMPAIGNERS are to stage a public rally embracing refugees in light of the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

Activists plan to rally together at Guildhall Square in Portsmouth tomorrow following David Cameron’s pledge to welcome 20,000 more refugees into the UK by 2020.

It is important that the council demands that resources are made available from central government so that we can fulfill our responsibilities to invite refugees into our own community.

Simon Magorian, of Stand Up To Racism

It comes after the region gave support to refugees camped out in Calais and sent out vital supplies.

Help came from the likes of staff from Southsea takeaway Al Burrito, who travelled to France to pass on donations.

The rally, which starts at 1pm, will include speeches from Labour Party parliamentary candidate Sue Castillon, Tim Dawes, of Havant Green Party, local activist Rosie Bremer and officials from Portsmouth Trades Council.

Simon Magorian, of Stand Up To Racism, which is staging the event, said: ‘The news that the council has made space available for donations is excellent news.

‘However it is important that the council demands that resources are made available from central government so that we can fulfil our responsibilities to invite refugees into our own community.’

But Tory council leader Donna Jones has urged the government to place more controls on the amount of refugees coming into the city.

She has written to immigrations minister James Brokenshire urging more areas in the south-east be used to take people in as she feels the city is bearing a lot of the burden.

Cllr Jones said that from April to June 2015, 124 asylum seekers had been housed in Portsmouth – 43 per cent of the south east total.

It comes after a report to the Tory cabinet earlier this year revealed Portsmouth was taking a ‘disproportionate’ level of asylum seekers compared to the other areas in the region.

Cllr Jones said: ‘We have done our fair share now.

‘This is also about the impact on the council. It’s the impact on children’s services, if they require a care worker, if there’s a care order in place, and we have got no primary school places left in the city at the moment.’