CAMPAIGNERS are to make a renewed stand against a controversial bid to slam the door on asylum seekers coming to Portsmouth.
The city council has come under fire after the majority of councillors agreed at the last full meeting that the city should stop taking refugee families from overseas.
Considering the supportive emails and phone calls we have at the council from ordinary tax-paying people, I honestly believe this march is of complete irrelevance.
Home secretary Theresa May is being urged to remove Portsmouth as a ‘cluster area’ for asylum families – and Tory councillors say it’s for the benefit of residents given the strain on local resources.
But activists want to keep up the pressure against the council’s position and hold a major protest before the next meeting of all members on Tuesday, November 10.
Hundreds of residents, students and members of local campaign groups will march from Guildhall Square to Commercial Road and back and make speeches.
But critics say the protest is just an excuse ‘for a day out’ and ‘irrelevant’.
Former University of Portsmouth student Mario Oliveros, 24, who is putting together the event, said: ‘We are just fed up with the situation and we want to gain back control of our city.
‘I thought the council’s motion was rushed through, we would have liked them to have spoken to us before it came before the meeting.
‘It’s something we feel strongly about and we don’t feel we are being heard.
‘Local residents are working with local groups to support asylum seekers, people are driving to Calais and collecting lots of donations – that’s the reality of the city.’
Tory councillor David Tompkins said: ‘Considering the supportive emails and phone calls we have at the council from ordinary taxpaying people, I honestly believe this march is of complete irrelevance. It’s really just an excuse for a lot of people to have a nice day out.’
But Stand Up To Racism campaigner Jon Woods, who has already led a lobby said: ‘We should not let the matter drop at all. It’s still a massive stain on the reputation of Portsmouth that the council passed this motion.
‘I support any protest that keeps the issue alive and I hope it will put pressure on the council to overturn its decision.’