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Campaigners organise protest following deaths in the English Channel

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An 'emergency' protest will take place today demanding 'safe passage' for asylum seekers.

It comes after 28 lives were lost this week in the English Channel when an oversized dinghy carrying refugees capsized.

The sunk dinghy off Calais. At least 28 died when it capsized Picture: Local lifeboat crew
The sunk dinghy off Calais. At least 28 died when it capsized Picture: Local lifeboat crew

The 'Don't Let Them Drown' rally has been organised by action groups Stand Up To Racism and Care4Calais, and will be held opposite Downing Street in London.

Campaigners argue the deaths on Wednesday were a 'direct result of the British Government refusing to allow safe and legal routes for refugees'.

They are also calling for the government's Nationality & Borders Bill to be scrapped.

Speakers at the protest will include rapper and activist Lowkey, Kevin Courtney, National Education Union General Secretary, Lara Bishop from Care4Calais, Dave Landau from Jewish Socialist Group, and Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu from Stand Up To Racism, plus others.

Sabby Dhalu said: "Denying those fleeing war and persecution a legal and safe route into the country when most can only claim asylum from inside Britain is a recipe for tragedy.

Mariam Nouri has been named as the first victim
Mariam Nouri has been named as the first victim

"This horrific loss of life could have been avoided if the British Government allowed safe passage for refugees.

"The situation will worsen if the Nationality and Borders Bill becomes law.

"The only way for further tragedies to be avoided is for the Government to reverse its racist refugee policy, act to provide safe passage and scrap the Nationality and Borders Bill."

Weyman Bennett added: "These tragic deaths are a chilling reminder of what the government's hostile environment for refugees is about.

"Priti Patel and Boris Johnson have blood on their hands.

The number of asylum seekers trying to reach the UK has soared
The number of asylum seekers trying to reach the UK has soared

"Those fleeing war, the effects of climate change and poverty must have safe passage"

Mohammed Kozbar, from Finsbury Park Mosque & Muslim Association of Britain, said: "We all been shocked by this horrific incident; this is an alarm call for all of us to do whatever we can to help these desperate people who risk their lives to start a decent life away from war and insecurity."

The London protest will take place at 2pm, with other events also taking place across the country.

The first victim of the tragedy this week was yesterday named as Mariam Nouri Hamadameen. She was a Kurdish woman from the northern Iraqi city of Ranya, and had travelled via Germany into France and was six miles into the perilous trip when her partner, who was tracking her progress on his phone, lost the GPS signal.

In total, 17 men, seven women - including a pregnant woman - and three children, died in the sea.

A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities that was launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the water was called off late on Wednesday.

The French authorities have arrested five suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident.

The Dover Strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world and many people have perished trying to cross to Britain in inflatable dinghies.

We have closed the ability to comment on this story due to the number of abusive and racist posts received on this topic.

We appreciate it is a very divisive issue but must ensure our comments adhere to house rules.

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