Activists disrupt Conservative Party dinner to call Priti Patel’s Rwanda policy racist

Support us and go ad-free

Activists accused Priti Patel of “racist” and “inhumane” policies over government plans to send migrants to Rwanda during her appearance at a Conservative party dinner.

The home secretary was speaking at the Bassetlaw Conservatives Spring Dinner in Nottinghamshire on Friday 6 May. During the event, several activists stood up on their chairs and began denouncing Patel for the policy.

The plan has received widespread criticism and legal challenges. It involves the UK sending asylum seekers it deems to have arrived “illegally” off to Rwanda.

‘Your racist policies are killing people’

Footage published on Twitter by campaigning group Green New Deal shows a woman stand up and tell Patel:

Priti Patel, your racist policies are killing people.

Your plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda are inhumane, they’re inhumane and are going to ruin people’s lives.

Another activist stood up, telling Patel the group was “disgusted by [her] treatment of refugees in the UK”.

Three other activists stood up and mad statements before the group chanted “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” as they were ushered out of the venue.

Holly Hudson, a Green New Deal Rising activist who was part of the protest, said:

I want to grow up in a society that cares and respects people wherever they come from. I am disgusted by Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan and her immigration policies. They are violent, illegal and inhumane and have been condemned across society.

This bill is a direct act of harm to those seeking safety. Whoever we are, we all deserve safety and compassion and that’s why we took action today.

Hannah Martin, from Green New Deal Rising, added:

The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is inhumane and will lead to the destruction of people’s lives and further harm those people who are seeking safety.

Those who stand for climate justice also stand against Priti Patel’s cruel plans that demonise people who are escaping terrifying situations as they bear the brunt of the multiple crises of war, poverty and the climate catastrophe.

These crises in the Global South are the direct result of centuries of exploitation by wealthy countries, such as the UK. We believe it is the responsibility of our Government to provide safety for people facing these situations.

We want Priti Patel to drop the dangerous Rwanda migration plan and provide support and safety for migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover by the RNLI (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ignoring lessons from Australia

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The world-leading Migration Partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5 billion a year – the highest amount in two decades.

It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there.

Our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda fully complies with international and national law.

A comparable scheme in Australia inspired the UK’s Rwanda plan. It has resulted in considerable human rights violations and cost the Australian government billions since its introduction in 2013.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us