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Thursday, 03 September 2015

Northern Ireland protest to demand opening of borders to refugees

Written by The Press Association

A vigil is to be held in Northern Ireland to demand that Britain opens its borders to refugees.

The Londonderry protest is being organised by the People Before Profit organisation.

The image of a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a beach has reinforced calls for Prime Minister David Cameron to take in more asylum seekers from conflict zones.

Protest organiser Eamonn McCann said: "I think that the voice of the public needs to be heard."

He said the West was responsible for helping create the humanitarian crisis because of interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and accused Mr Cameron of not doing enough.

"We don't think that he speaks for all the people he claims to represent, certainly not the people of Derry. Across Europe people should be raising their voices against this horrendous scandal on Europe's borders.

"We are part of what will develop into a mass movement ... open the borders."

Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother Galip and their mother Rihan drowned off the coast of Bodrum in Turkey having failed to make it to the Greek island of Kos.

The Guildhall Square vigil is being supported by trade unionists and speakers have been invited from the North West Migrants Forum and the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM).

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he had urged the Prime Minister to accept more refugees from Syria and the Middle East.

He said: "The world has been shocked by the harrowing images which have been beamed across the globe in recent days and we all have a responsibility to do everything in our power to alleviate this growing humanitarian crisis.

"I spoke to David Cameron today and made a direct appeal to him to permit entry to more refugees and to enable regions such as our own to welcome these people."

In Belfast, calls have been made for the city council to convene an emergency meeting next week to discuss the migrant crisis.

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