MODEL and actress Lily Cole joined hundreds in a demonstration yesterday calling for the government to take action to ensure the safe passage of unaccompanied children from Calais.
Protesters wore red and held up heart-shaped placards at the demonstration on the Millennium Bridge in London following the clearance of the Jungle refugee camp earlier this week.
Ms Cole tweeted that she was there to “show solidarity with child refugees — calling on London to #haveaheart.”
Organisers Love in Action said the demonstration “would show the British government and the media that there are many people in the UK who would welcome these refugees — people who are in desperate need of help and support — to this country with open arms.”
The action came following Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s statement in Parliament on Monday in which she said that no new arrivals at the camp would be considered for entry to Britain.
She claimed this was to avoid encouraging more children to head to Calais and risk their lives in the hands of traffickers.
Fires raged through the camp yesterday as four of the migrants were arrested on suspicion of arson.
French authorities described the clearance as successful with large machinery expected to move in and complete the demolition today.
However volunteer group Calais Refugee Kitchens said yesterday that there are still 300 children in the camp who have not been registered and who they are struggling to feed.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley accused both British and French governments of failing “these young people,” calling on the government to demand the immediate suspension of the demolition until their safety is guaranteed.
Criticising the response from the government to the “crisis unfolding across the shore,” Stand Up to Racism co-convenor Weyman Bennett said: “Ten thousand people are in squalid conditions and instead of being offered asylum in Britain they are being treated in an inhumane way.”
He said that 23 million people from regions of conflict have been displaced and only a tiny amount are arriving on our shore.
People’s Assembly’s Tom Griffiths, who co-organised the Convoy to Calais in June, slammed the “humanitarian failure” by British and French governments.
Over 5,000 migrants have been taken to registration centres with the local prefecture stating that around 1,500 children have passed through the registration warehouse.
As the fires continued in the camp, French Office for Refugees and Stateless People head Pascal Brice claimed that French authorities are satisfied and declared that “the Jungle is now over.”