Protest in Brighton calls for action against child abduction in hotels

Hundreds of people gathered in central Brighton to call for action after the disappearance of dozens of asylum-seeking children from a Hove hotel.

Activists gathered at the clock tower to call for an investigation into the kidnappings, some carrying banners reading “Every Child Matters”, “Refugees Welcome” and “Homes, Not Hotels”.

Campaigning groups including Stand Up to Racism, Care 4 Calais and other refugee organizations were among the ’emergency demonstration’ protesters tonight.

A protester, who did not give his name, said the situation was “disgraceful”.

She said: “Children should not be unaccompanied in hotels, they should be placed in foster care immediately.

“It’s ridiculous — you wouldn’t do that for any other kid.”

The Argus: A speaker addresses the crowd at the protest tonightA speaker addresses the crowd at the protest tonight (Image: The Argus)

As the crowd cheered, a speaker told the protesters: “We, the people of the UK, care about the welfare and safety of people seeking asylum here.

“We will not stand by and allow the Home Office to continue to let them down.”

The large number of protesters who showed up for the event chanted “refugees are welcome here” and called on Home Secretary Suella Braverman to resign.

“National Scandal”

In an impassioned speech to the crowd, Aaron of Stand Up to Racism said: “This is a catastrophic child protection failure. This is a national scandal.

“The government talks a lot about human trafficking when it comes to people risking their lives to cross the English Channel in small boats, but fails to mention that the hostile environment they create drives the human smugglers’ business model.

“A lot of money is passed around when it comes to human trafficking – enough is enough.”

The Argus: Protesters carried placards and signs reading'Refugees Welcome'Demonstrators carried placards and signs reading “Refugees Welcome” (Image: The Argus)

Aaron, who did not give his last name, also called for Brighton and Hove City Council to be held accountable for their part in the scandal and to do more.

“You must recognize the scale of this tragedy and take more responsibility for protecting asylum-seeking children in our city.

“Without stopping the use of hotels to house these children, it is wrong for the council to say we are a city of refuge. We are not – children are missing, how is the sanctuary?”

Home Office carelessness played into the hands of criminals

Also read at the protest was a statement from Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, in which she described the situation as “shocking and devastating”.

She wrote: “According to the watch of Suella Braverman and her predecessor, a total of around 200 children have disappeared from hotels like the one in Hove. These are the lives of individual children and each one is important.

“The Home Office’s negligence has played into the hands of criminal gangs.

“Our city stands united in the demand that each and every one of these children matters.”

Another protest is planned for February 2 outside Hove Town Hall to coincide with a council meeting. Protest in Brighton calls for action against child abduction in hotels

Fry Electronics Team

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