Activists 'stand up to racism' in Mansfield demonstration to support asylum seekers

More than 50 activists gathered in Mansfield town centre to show support for asylum seekers following a similar protest urging them “out” of a Mansfield hotel.
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Calls of “refugees welcome here” and “unite and fight for jobs, homes and services for all” could be heard in Mansfield town centre, exactly a week after protestors gathered outside a Mansfield hotel housing asylum seekers shouting “out, out, out”.

Saturday’s ‘Stand Up To Racism’ demonstration was organised by Nottinghamshire Trades Council.

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Residents from across Mansfield gathered at the bottom of Regent Street, including members from the Public and Commercial Services and Unite trade unions.

Residents, trade union members and activists joined forces.Residents, trade union members and activists joined forces.
Residents, trade union members and activists joined forces.
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Richard Buckwell, of NTC, said: “We want to show different attitudes from last Saturday and show there are welcoming people here in Mansfield.

“It has been heartening to see people come along. It has been great to see support from the trade unions as well. It was a great demonstration, with a fantastic reception.”

Jon Dale, secretary of the Nottinghamshire health branch of Unite, said: “Thousands of people have been on strike in the last few weeks, against the terrible cost of living.

Residents brought along placards and signs.Residents brought along placards and signs.
Residents brought along placards and signs.
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“Our MPs are trying to divide this movement and divert people’s attention away from who is responsible for the rocketing bills, food prices and cuts to public services. It is not a handful of refugees in a hotel, but the government they support.”

Opinions divided

The Mansfield Refugees Welcome Here Group said it was “dismayed to hear of the recent demonstration outside a local hotel designated as a temporary sanctuary for refugees”, but reader Alison Paddock said: “I’ll protest with others to put a stop to this, as I fear for the safety and future of my family and others of Mansfield. There are many Mansfield people who feel this way.”

Residents, trade union members and activists 'unite' to show support for asylum seekers.Residents, trade union members and activists 'unite' to show support for asylum seekers.
Residents, trade union members and activists 'unite' to show support for asylum seekers.

Coun Ben Bradley, Mansfield MP and Nottinghamshire Council leader, said: “I simply ask protestors to be respectful and ensure they keep on the right side of the line that is legitimate protest.

“I have been vocal in my opposition to illegal migration and understand the feelings of residents who think it’s unfair, when people all around the UK are struggling, that people should be able to arrive in small boats and access things like food, housing and medical support courtesy of UK taxpayers.”