On Saturday 18 February hundreds of people will march through Peckham with LGBT+ and migrant communities to protest immigration raids and mass deportations. The march will be lead by Peckham-based asylum seekers and will feature speeches from South London migrant groups and local shop owners along the route.
Last year’s Peckham Pride saw 300 people march in celebration of community resistance to immigration raids of shops in Peckham. Peckham Pride is organised by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary and Sisters Uncut (South East London).
February is LGBT+ history month and marks 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. Yet the UK government is under heavy criticism for inhumane of LGBT+ asylum seekers and for deporting LGBT+ people to countries where their life is in danger – for example deporting an LGBT+ Asylum seeker to Nigeria in late January.
Every year around 2000 people, among them people from Peckham, are loaded onto secretive night time ‘charter flights’ in one of the most brutal facets of the detention and deportation regime.
The Home office are doing more than 6000 raids of local businesses, mostly without warrants.
According to Sam Bjorn from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, “Peckham Pride brings LGBT+ and migrant communities together to show that we refuse to be divided and we refuse to let prejudices turn us against each other. 50 years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality, we still see the government treating whole communities as illegal. And as LGBT+ people we feel we have a special responsibility to stand in solidarity with the migrants now facing the brunt of government repression.”
Sam’s words were echoed by Antonia Bright from Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary, who added that “Peckham is a place where people have stood up and stopped immigration raids, preventing border agency thugs from snatching colleagues, neighbours, friends. We’re marching through Peckham to build a mass movement to defend our community and resist racist attacks from our government.”
Marchers are assembling outside Peckham Library, SE15 5JR, at 12 noon on Saturday. Post-march speeches and performances will be held at the Copeland gallery, SE15 3SN.