‘We escaped from war to prison’: Migrants protest over conditions at ex-military base in Wales that was turned into massive camp for asylum seekers
- Asylum seekers housed at a former military camp protested over conditions
- One demonstrator held up a sign saying: ‘We escaped from war to prison’
- Around 230 migrants were sent to the former army training centre in Penally
Asylum seekers being housed at a former British military camp protested over conditions at the site – and called: ‘Save us from Covid 19’.
One demonstrator held up a sign saying: ‘We escaped from war to prison’ after being housed in the seaside village of Penally, Pembrokeshire.
Around 230 migrants were sent to the former army training centre in the sleepy holiday village after arriving in the UK from the Middle East.
Up to a dozen of the refugees protested outside the base holding signs saying: ‘Where are the human rights,’ and ‘we want justice’.
Others held carboard banners with ‘the refugee has a right to stay in a home’, ‘we want better conditions’, and ‘save us from Covid 19’.
Protest slogans included ‘Save us from Covid 19’ and ‘We are human beings, not numbers on a file!’
This resident of the camp in Penally, Wales spoke on his mobile phone as he held up a cardboard sign demanding human rights
The arrival of the men was initially met with protests from worried locals concerned over the impact on local services and house prices in the 800-population village.
Far right activists later joined in demonstrations and anti-racism groups also gathered at the centre.
The refugees – all aged 18-35 – arrived at Penally in September and are due to stay there for up to a year while their asylum claims are processed.
The men are mainly from Iraq and Iran.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has previously called for the men to be removed from Penally saying it is an unsuitable location.
Mr Drakeford said: ‘It is unacceptable that the Home Office has repeatedly failed to address serious issues regarding living conditions at Penally military camp.
‘The Welsh Government and local service providers have continually informed the Home Office of grave deficiencies in the standard of accommodation for asylum seekers. Home Office has so far failed to act in any meaningful way.
‘The welfare and safety of asylum seekers on site must not be compromised, and the wellbeing of the local community must be treated as priority by the Home Office.’
A ‘mass fight’ broke out among migrants at a Welsh holding camp yesterday as police arrested two men
A Home Office spokesperson previously said: ‘During these unprecedented times, the government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MoD has offered use of some of its sites.
‘When using contingency accommodation we work closely with organisations, including local authorities and law enforcement, throughout the process to ensure value for money and that vulnerable asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, have suitable accommodation while their claims are processed.’
Asylum seekers being housed at a former British military camp, pictured above, protested over conditions at the site – and called: ‘Save us from Covid 19’.
Last month, a ‘mass fight’ broke out at the Welsh camp and police arrested two men.
Officers detained a 22-year-old on suspicion of affray and a 25-year-old on suspicion of assault.
Pictures show a large police presence outside Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre in Penally, Pembrokeshire, following the incident.