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British protesters demonstrate outside Yarl's Wood detention center in solidarity with refugees

Demonstrators gather outside the UK's most infamous detention center in Yarl's Wood.

Ahmed Kaballo
Press TV, Bedford

Nearly half of the British public have little or no sympathy for asylum seekers making the perilous journey across the Channel from France. This is according to a YouGov survey which comes amid an increasing public spotlight on refugees during the recent weeks and British politicians and journalists refocusing the public's energy on the issue.

Sky News and BBC News have been criticized for what some have described as grotesque Migrant Safari journalism and for their lack of sympathy in their coverage.

Far-right leaders of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage and Pual Golding of Britain First have also been criticized for hassling asylum seekers in hotels and attempting to portray them as leeches on the British taxpayer who are living luxuriously.

Demonstrators outside the UK's most infamous detention center in Yarl's Wood were, however, keen to show a different picture.

The majority of people detained in Yarl's Wood have not been found guilty of any crime, yet they are imprisoned in conditions that have been universally condemned by human rights groups and advocates.

At a time when refugees are being demonized by British politicians and influential media outlets, these protesters were here to demonstrate their solidarity with those who have come to the UK for safety but have found a society with large elements hostile to their presence.

Some at the protest argued that the British government was using the issue of refugees as a way to deflect attention from their violent foreign policy.

The British Home Secretary Priti Patel has conceded that her parents, who themselves were refugees, would not have been admitted to the UK under the immigration rules she has implemented.

For many of the protesters outside Yarl's Wood this admission demonstrates the harshness of the government's current policies. They argue that if the British public understood the real struggles that refugees entering the UK go through, then they would be a little more empathetic.

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