Mon, Jun 20, 2016 - Page 6 News List

British protest rejection of aid convoy by France


Protesters on Saturday rallied outside the French embassy in London after an aid convoy intended for refugees was turned back by French border police.

After gathering near parliament in London, the convoy of about 250 vehicles, including a 38-tonne truck full of aid supplies, set off for the southeast English port city of Dover.

The truck was allowed through, but most of the accompanying cars were turned back, convoy organizer John Rees said told reporters.

The convoy, staged by a number of left-wing campaign groups, including the People’s Assembly and the Stop the War Coalition, was prevented from boarding ferries across the English Channel to the northeastern French port of Calais.

After returning to London, demonstrators lit flares and waved socialist party placards that read: “Refugees welcome,” “Open the borders” and “Fight racism and Islamophobia.”

Protesters also held up banners that read: “Stand up to racism” and “Students welcome refugees.”

Bags of aid supplies were laid on the floor outside the embassy.

About 4,000 refugees, mainly from Afghanistan and Sudan, live in the Jungle camp in Calais, according to an official estimate from April.

Local authorities in the Calais region took out a public order injunction against the convoy on Wednesday last week.

French police justified the ban citing security concerns, pointing to the major deployment in place for the Euro 2016 championship and the demands of counterterrorism.

“Kent Police has received notification from the French authorities that they have taken a decision to refuse the convoy entry to France,” the local police force in Dover said in a statement.

“No agency within the United Kingdom has any grounds to challenge this decision. The refusal of entry to France is a matter for the French authorities,” it added.

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