Now Reading
Gay activists call on people to halt planes in bid to save asylum seekers

Gay activists call on people to halt planes in bid to save asylum seekers

LGBTI campaigners call on people to stop deportations | Photo: Lesbians and Gays Supports The Migrants

LGBTI campaigners are calling on people to halt planes in a bid to save asylum seekers.

Lesbian and Gays Support The Migrants (LGSM), a grassroots group, replaced 200 ads on the London tube network this week.

Adverts gave instructions to commuters on the Piccadilly, Victoria and Central lines on how passengers can stop deportations on commercial planes.

The ad shows three panels. It shows a passenger noticing a deportation taking place and fighting back.

Activists also handed out leaflets at Heathrow in tribute to International Migrants Day yesterday (18 December).

Gay campaigners target British Airways for complicity in deportations

‘Our campaign today is targeting [British Airways] for their complicity in deportations,’ Sam Björn, of LGSM, told Gay Star News.

‘We say that enough is enough. The time is long overdue for other airlines to take a stand and stop profiting from the government’s hostile environment policy.

‘The hundreds of people who have also responded to our campaign prove that passengers won’t tolerate this either.’

Swedish student Elin Ersson stopped a plane earlier this year.

Filming herself on Facebook, Ersson was able to stop an Afghani man from being deported.

The video was then watched millions of times. Ersson now faces a fine and up to six months in jail.

In June, Virgin announced they would stop aiding in the removal of migrants.

Queer people ‘should aid in campaign to stop removal of asylum seekers on planes’

Björn added: ‘We think its crucial for LGBTQ people to support migrants. Not long ago, we were the “illegals” and queer pubs and bars were being targeted in police raids and subject to state violence.

‘Now it is the homes and workplaces of migrants that are targeted. Our queerness is weaponised by the state, the media, and the right wing.

‘Hard won rights for LGBTQ people are presented as part of “British” or “European” values. Migrants, particularly Muslim migrants, are constructed as a threat to these values. Our shows of solidarity are necessary as they are for everyone who is oppressed, but they are also an attempt to oppose the pink-washing of xenophobia and racism.’

A Home Office spokesperson explained the government makes ‘enforced returns’ on charter and regular scheduled flights.

Seats on scheduled flights are also quickly arranged in service of individual cases.

A Home Office spokesperson told Gay Star News: ‘When someone has no legal right to remain in the UK they should return to their home country.

‘We will always help people who wish to leave voluntarily, but when an individual refuses to return to their home country and we are confident that no other approaches will work, then we will seek to enforce their removal.’

More from Gay Star News

UK: Pilot ‘saves life’ of gay asylum seeker by refusing to fly him to Nepal