Londoners have held a protest outside the British parliament to demand government action to help refugees held at France’s notorious Calais camp.
The protesters rallied on London streets Saturday, chanting pro-refugee slogans and holding banners which called for an end to racism.
“Say it now, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” protesters shouted while marching along streets.
The demonstrators blasted the UK government’s insistence on preventing Calais refugees to enter Britain.
“We are the forgotten children, not dogs,” one banner read, with another one reading, “Show some humanity.”
They called for the implementation of an amendment tabled in the House of Lords to grant asylum to 3,000 unaccompanied minors trapped in Calais.
“What do we want? Just amendment. When do want it? Now,” protesters were chanting.
A legal amendment to the Immigration Act has been presented to the UK parliament, which, if passed, would give child refugees in Calais protection under British safeguarding rules.
The Calais camp, known as the Jungle, is now accommodating some 10,000 refugees. France has announced the removal of the makeshift camp and has called on the UK to take its share of responsibility.
A child peddling through the Jungle camp in Calais (Photo by PA)
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said last week that it would be “a really good result” if the UK takes unaccompanied child refugees from the camp.
A first group of unaccompanied child refugees left the Calais camp for Britain on Saturday.
Authorities at the camp confirmed that about two dozen minors were bound for a new life in the UK, where they had relatives. However, the camp said there was "no deal for a larger-scale" evacuation of children.
France says it will soon begin completely destroying the camp, where asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia are currently residing.
"The dismantlement will begin when all the conditions for success are in place,” Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse told The French Liberation in comments published on Friday.
Refugees are residing in various encampments in Calais around the Channel Tunnel, the undersea passage into the UK.
The camp is grappling with problems such as overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and food shortages.