Tories’ racist, floating refugee prison once again faced the wrath of Cornwall locals
The Tories floating refugee prison barge the Bibby Stockholm has once again seen protests – this time, with dozens of groups and hundreds of people turning out in Cornwall.
Bibby Stockholm and the racist Tories
The Bibby Stockholm is an already notorious barge the Tory government will be using to detain refugees. As the Canary previously reported:
The government announced it would be using it to detain male refugees and would be operational for “at least” 18 months. It also said that more of these barges were on the way. The government also noted how barges will “cut the cost to the taxpayer” – blaming refugees for trying to come here, and not the government for its disastrous hotels policy. Of course, this also ignores the fact that the problem is not where and how the government detains people – but the fact that it does so in the first place.
Campaign groups have hit back at the Tories for using a barge to detain refugees. Moreover, when the Dutch government did the same thing with the Bibby Stockholm staff abused refugees on board. The government had to take it out of service. Not that any of that has stopped the racist Tories from pushing this policy forward.
So, currently, the Bibby Stockholm is in Falmouth, Cornwall. However, people have already protested it. And on Sunday 21 May campaigners were once again out in force resisting the barge and what it represents.
Cornwall resisting, again
Cornwall Resists is a network of grassroots anti-fascist groups in the county. As the Canary has documented, it has been prominent in resisting both the far-right’s and the state’s racist abuse of refugees in Cornwall. The group has recently turned its attention to the Bibby Stockholm and held its first demo on Wednesday 10 May. Now Cornwall Resists, other groups, and local people have protested again:
The local community as well as members of more than 20 groups including @CornwallResists and @XRebellionUK join to protest in Falmouth against the refugee barge, Bibby Stockholm, which is in the town's dry dock to be refitted before moving to Dorset to house 500 asylum seekers. pic.twitter.com/2LI2oFhB4Z
— Greg Martin (@photogregmartin) May 21, 2023
Cornwall Resists said in a statement for the Canary that around 300 people joined the protest. It noted that:
The protest – Resist Border Violence – No Floating Prisons – United Against the Bibby Stockholm – was supported by local groups including Cornwall Resists, Divest Borders Falex, Falmouth and Penryn Welcomes Refugees, Radical Pride, Reclaim the Sea, All Under One Banner, the Bakers’ Union, and Falmouth and Penryn Acorn.
A concurrent protest also took place in London at the Home Office.
In Falmouth, the protest was varied – with some people even sailing a protest boat in front of the Bibby Stockholm:
A small boat sailed in front of the Bibby Stockholm with sails reading "Your son your brother"
"We are better than this" pic.twitter.com/JVjYeCdLwr
— Joshface (@Joshface) May 22, 2023
Anti Raids Plymouth made the point of the demo pretty clear:
Fuck this boat.
Thanks to @CornwallResists and local organisers, we were in sunny Falmouth today protesting the dystopian af Bibby Stockholm and the government's fashy plans to house people there.
No floating prisons.
No borders, no nations.
Fuck deportations! pic.twitter.com/VbH4z8qrnz
— Anti Raids Plymouth (@Anti_Raids_Plym) May 21, 2023
Falmouth is just the beginning
Cornwall Resists told the Canary:
Sunday’s protest was an amazing display of community action and solidarity. However, as speaker after speaker made clear, this needs to be the start of our resistance and not the end of it. Attending one or two protests is not enough. It is the responsibility of every one of us to act against this floating human rights violation in our dock.
Indeed, as the Canary previously said:
a hostile environment where humans are housed on barges simply for fleeing war, persecution, or to seek a better life, is exactly what the colonialist UK government and its agents want. The only way to begin to stop this is to resist, like Cornwall did. It’s certainly not begging the government for reforms and fairness.
So, the Tories (and by default their racist, nasty barge) can expect more protests in Falmouth. They can also expect people to protest wherever the Bibby Stockholm ends up.
Featured image via Cornwall Resists
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