Activists disrupt Priti Patel speech in protest against Rwanda refugee plan

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Green New Deal Rising campaigners were escorted from the dinner to chants of ‘out, out, out’


A speech by the home secretary, Priti Patel, was disrupted on Friday evening after pro-refugee activists infiltrated a Conservative party “spring dinner”.

Eight young social justice and climate campaigners from Green New Deal Rising disrupted the Bassetlaw Conservative Association Spring Dinner and demanded she drop controversial plans to offshore asylum seekers to Rwanda.

As Patel started to address the party faithful, activists stood up, one by one, to condemn the offshoring plans and called on Patel to abandon them.

“As young people wanting to live in a fair and compassionate society, we are disgusted by your treatment of refugees,” said one of the activists, as plain-clothed security personnel appeared swiftly and removed the protesters from the building.

Attendees at the Conservative dinner could be heard on video footage of the incident chanting: “Out, out, out”.

The group targets politicians and other establishment figures and disrupts meetings they attend to challenge their stance on social justice and climate change issues.

This tactic is becoming increasingly popular among activists. Extinction Rebellion recently disrupted HSBC’s AGM singing a variation of Abba’s Money, Money, Money, changing the words to “money, money, money, it’s so scummy, in HSBC’s world”.

Hannah Martin, from Green New Deal Rising, said: “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. We want Priti Patel to drop the dangerous Rwanda migration plan and provide support and safety for migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.”

Related: Union chief accuses Patel of withholding Rwanda asylum details from staff

The plans to offshore asylum seekers to Rwanda were announced on 14 April and are the subject of several legal challenges. Initially the government suggested that the first removals would take place very soon but the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has now indicated it is likely to be several months before anyone is forcibly removed to the African country. Many asylum seekers have reported being terrified of being sent to Rwanda.

Bassetlaw Conservatives and the Home Office have been approached for comment.

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