The past few days in Newcastle have seen a very active campaign to support the welcoming of refugees in the UK and the North East. On Saturday, 12th September a march was held through Newcastle from the Life Centre to the Newcastle Civic Centre followed by a rally. The event was organised by the Newcastle Stop the War Coalition, Newcastle Unites, North East Unites Against Fascism, and North East People’s Assembly as part of a national day of action for refugees, together with Newcastle councillors including David Stockdale, Dipu Ahad, Habib Rahman, Nigel Todd, and Mick Bowman.
The following is the events purpose statement taken from the Facebook group:
“Newcastle unites to say: Refugees Are Welcome Here.
The national day of action on Saturday 12 September has been called – by a wide range of campaigning organisations – in response to refugees losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. In Newcastle – a proud City of Sanctuary – we are organising a big, high-profile and united public protest as part of the day of action.
Refugees are fleeing war, persecution, torture and acute poverty. This includes the 200 refugees who died off the coast of Libya and around 70 refugees killed in a truck in Austria. There are on-going reports of refugees drowning while crossing the Mediterranean, stranded in Hungary and prohibited from moving around the EU. There are also those in Calais struggling to find sanctuary.
The government response to this has been disgraceful. Unlike Germany, Italy and Greece, Britain has not offered a safe haven for these people.
On Monday 14 September Home Secretary Theresa May will be meeting with EU leaders about the refugee crisis. We must learn the lessons of history and call on the government to take a humanitarian and compassionate response to refugees, and to meet its share of the responsibility for providing protection.
Let’s send a strong message: we say refugees are welcome in Newcastle and the North East.”
Despite rain and only one week’s notice, the event had a turnout of approximately 600 people, according to the Northumbria Police.
Here are some images from the march and rally, taken from the North East Solidarity With Calais Refugees Facebook page:
In addition to the successful march and rally through Newcastle’s town centre, Saturday 12th September also had a few sorting days throughout the North East where volunteers came together to sort through the overwhelming amount of donations that have been collected for the refugees in Calais.
Here are some images from the sorting days, as well as a schedule of collection points throughout the North East for this weekend. We will update this website accordingly with upcoming collection locations and contacts as information becomes available.
Today, Sunday 13th September is the annual Great North Run starting in Newcastle and spanning 13.1 miles to South Shields. Committed to the refugee cause, volunteers have made sure to give the cause a prominent place along the race route, positioning a Refugees Welcome banner throughout.
Overall, this weekend has seen an incredible amount of support for the welcoming of refugees in the North East. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved in this cause, information is available on the Facebook group: North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees.