Another day, another tribunal, another asylum seeker guilty till proven innocent. In this case, our dear friend Manjeet.
I didn’t really want to go into the court this time, but I ended up going in last minute, though I knew it would be difficult never having seen anyone actually cross examined before.
It’s really hard watching pompous, small-minded home office goons interrogating your friend and making out she’s lying when you know all too well what she’s been going through.
But a get a load of my credit crunch placards…
It is International Roma Day on 8th April, so we’re having an event at INSPIRE in Levenshulme to celebrate.
Last week I was attacked (mostly verbally) by a trio of nazis in the middle of Longsight, so I figured I’d go down to an away game in that-London on the 22nd, where there was a rally to celebrate UN anti-racism day.
A coach load of us went down from Manchester, mostly the regulars, but also one of my Roma friends and her kid. There was a whole bunch of people supporting Roma migrants- I wasn’t expecting to see so many Roma flags. Ramona didn’t even know they had their own flag till I offered her one to carry for the march. Yet people kept coming up to her asking ‘What does this flag symbolise?’ I was beginning to suspect they all already knew and were trying to start conversation. One woman was even cross examining us about every inch of the flag’s symbolism.
So we set off marching from Parliament Sq. Noticed there was no peace camp anymore and a chain all around the grass. We marched with a load of Equadorian migrants, which excited Ramona and her girl because they both speak Spanish from their time living around Spain and were joining in their chants.
I meanwhile was scattering our protest confetti, offering it to all the Equadorians and Woodcraft kids. An old man behind us objected very strongly to it, saying ‘what a bad idea! What organisation are you with?! The litter! It will get everywhere! Someone will have to clean that up!’ I was like, ‘yes, that’s the point!’ And carried on chucking and shouting ‘hasta la victoria siempre!’
It was the shortest march ever (well, for one that we weren’t stopped by authority). We thought it’d be one where you go all around the city centre in a long complicated route like you usually do, but no! We just walked around a corner basically and filed into Trafalgar square. Lazy Cockneys.
It was a huge rally in Trafalgar Square and we regrouped with Manjeet who was on the campaign trail as usual. We went into a nearby waterstones where they were charging like, £4 per sandwich (Cam: ‘That’s EXTORTIONATE!’) and little Adie asked me, unde este Equador? Fortunately we were sat right beside a whole display of globes in the travel section. Kismet.
Back outside, we saw lots of speeches from people who’s relatives have died at the hands of racist police, and have been spied on following demands for justice- including our very own Aunty Carole, before we took Adie to admire the street artistes like the agit-tourists we are.
Then we got back on the coach. As I folded myself back into my seat, Sam (one of our regulars) came at me with something of a complaint; ‘I went into to a caf, and went to get me money out of me pocket, and guess what came spilling out ALL over the café floor?!! …I’ll get you back for that!’
Viva la confetti-istias!
I spent Saturday with Young RAPAR again. Along with my awesome and very efficient apprentice, Carina, we took a trip down to the Manchester Student’s Union to film the kids discussing how being unable to go to university is affecting them.
One of our awesome young people quickly let me take this picture outside after a meeting about the upcoming International Roma Day…
It is also the birthday of my friend Manjeet Kaur, who is fighting for asylum.
She’s the chair of human rights organisation, RAPAR. As well as campaigning for migrant rights and disability rights, she also campaigns against the bedroom tax and the rise of the far right.
She was also recently a nominee* for the Women on the Move awards .
We go to tribunal next month, so would the few people who look this blog please read about her campaign here and see what you can do to help.
*(me and Yaz did it)
Another of my extended familia let me take her photo today for the After Porajmos project.