Liverpool protesters rally against Government Rwanda asylum seeker deportation flights

Protesters in Liverpool oppose the government's Rwanda deportation scheme.

A protest has been held in Liverpool against the UK Government policy of relocating asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda.

More than a dozen people gathered outside one of the UK's 13 immigration reporting centres just hours before the first flight to Rwanda took off, saying they are standing against "cruel and callous" asylum seeker controls.

Rob Claridge from Fight Racism Fight Imperialism said: "They are desperate people fleeing war-torn zones and they need some safety.

"We have a responsibility under UN conventions to treat them with respect and to offer them refugee status in Britain."

Sudan-born Yussr is a law student who has lived in Liverpool on a visa for three years. She spoke to our Merseyside correspondent Andy Bonner.

Sudan-born law student Yussr has been in Liverpool for three years Credit: ITV news

"I came here on a legitimate reason, and even though it was a really difficult process, it wasn't difficult as it was for refugees.

"I think it's horrible that we have a policy that's encouraging people not to come.

"I've spoken to asylum seekers many of whom wanted to come today but were too afraid.

"They think they're going to be next."

One of the signs at the protest in Liverpool Credit: ITV news

The government says there are plenty of people who agree with what they are doing, and are sticking to their guns.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "My message to everybody today is that we are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the criticism that is being directed upon this policy.

"Some of it from slightly unexpected quarters. We are going to get on and deliver."

The government says it wants to distinguish between what it calls dangerous cross-channel migration and what it says are safe legal routes into the country. It says Rwanda is a safe country to send migrants to.

However, the Bishops of Manchester and Blackburn are supporting a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York against the plan which calls the policy "immoral" and says it "shames Britain".There will be a full judicial review of the policy which is expected to be heard at the High Court in July.

Until then, campaigners say they will keep up the pressure on the government to change its mind.

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