Protest held outside City Hall in response to Afghanistan crisis

A 'refugees welcome' banner outside City Hall in Norwich as part of a protest in response to the Afghanistan crisis 

A 'refugees welcome' banner outside City Hall in Norwich as part of a protest in response to the Afghanistan crisis - Credit: Ben Hardy

Protesters in Norwich have called on the government to do more to welcome refugees amid the Afghanistan crisis. 

Banners stating 'refugees welcome, let them in' and 'no person is illegal' were on display as dozens of people stood outside City Hall on Saturday afternoon. 

The protest was recognising the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan in which thousands of British citizens, including people from Norfolk, have been stranded in Kabul after the Taliban reclaimed control of the city. 

Chalk drawing outside City Hall saying "seeking refuge is not a crime" 

Chalk drawing outside City Hall saying "seeking refuge is not a crime" - Credit: Ben Hardy

Norwich Against Fascists campaigner Jess Barnard, 26, said: "We are calling on the government and local representatives to do more to support them and make sure Norfolk plays its part. 

"We have been made aware of a couple of people from Norwich who are out there and we hope councillors and MPs are working with the government to get them out." 

Lukasz Piecuch and Krzysztof Szewcyk outside City Hall as part of the 'refugees welcome' protest in Norwich 

Lukasz Piecuch and Krzysztof Szewcyk outside City Hall as part of the 'refugees welcome' protest in Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

South Norwich MP Clive Lewis described the situation as "dire" with the numbers of people seeking help increasing by the day. 

Among Mr Lewis' constituents stranded in Kabul is Ashna Shinwari, 29, of Gas Hill, who had travelled to Afghanistan for a funeral before the Taliban took over. 

His four-year-old son and girlfriend have been left afraid after Mr Shinwari's Turkish Airlines flight home on August 10 was cancelled. 

Ashna Shinwari, pictured in Norwich, is unable to get out of Kabul in Afghanistan which was taken over by the Taliban 

Ashna Shinwari, pictured in Norwich, is currently unable to get out of Kabul in Afghanistan which was taken over by the Taliban - Credit: Contributed

Also protesting at City Hall was Lizzy McKenzie, 26, who said the action was a good way to demonstrate unity. 

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She added: "Having a physical presence here is great for people to see and it is very important with the humanitarian crisis on our hands in Afghanistan. 

"We have a responsibility to be vocal as our country has a huge role to play in this crisis and to go above and beyond to fix it." 

A statement from Mr Lewis, who could not attend the protest, said the city had an obligation to provide sanctuary to refugees, many of whom are faced with "perilous and dangerous journeys". 

People listening to speeches as part of the 'refugees welcome' protest at City Hall on Saturday afternoon 

People listening to speeches as part of the 'refugees welcome' protest at City Hall on Saturday afternoon - Credit: Ben Hardy

A spokesman for the foreign office said: "Our staff are working tirelessly to facilitate the swift evacuation of British nationals, Afghan staff and others at risk.

"The scale of the evacuation effort is huge and we have helped more than 2,400 people leave Afghanistan since Sunday [15].”

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