Derry protest today amid shock at refugee deaths

One of the young protesters who gathered outside the EU building Belfast recently. (Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye .)
One of the young protesters who gathered outside the EU building Belfast recently. (Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye .)

A vigil will be held in Derry later today as fresh images of the human toll of the refugee crisis sparked shock and outrage locally.

The protest in Guildhall Square at 5pm has been organised by People Before Profit to demand that the European Union open its borders and let in the refugees fleeing here from the war-torn areas of the Middle East and Africa.

(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

It comes as the image of a little toddler who drowned to death and whose body washed up on a beach brought home the full horror of the situation and stark choices facing many migrants.

Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother Galip and their mother, Rihan all drowned off the coast of Bodrum.

People Before Profit said today’s event is in response to the anger so many people feel with authorities who are not acting to help the ”obviously desperate” refugees.

The Guildhall Square vigil is being supported by trade union Unison’s community branch and speakers have been invited from the North West Migrants Forum and the NI Council for Ethnic Minorities.

Migrants  wait in front of the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday of this week, after the police stopped them from getting on a train to Germany and evacuated the station. The station reopened this morning. (Tamas Kovacs/MTI via AP)

Migrants wait in front of the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday of this week, after the police stopped them from getting on a train to Germany and evacuated the station. The station reopened this morning. (Tamas Kovacs/MTI via AP)

PBP spokesman Eamonn McCann said: “There is great distress in Derry as elsewhere at the dreadful pictures of the families desperate for a safer life.

“We hope to see people turn out in the Guildhall Square at 5pm on Thursday to show their support and solidarity and call on our governments to let them in.”

“Many, perhaps most, people are heart-sore at the plight of these migrants, who are forced by EU immigration rules to risk their lives in order to find safety.

“There is huge support for opening the borders and letting them in, as Germany has done, for example.

“The outpouring of solidarity towards the people arriving in Greece and Italy is in stark contrast to the response of the EU and especially Britain. Many are asking ‘have our rulers no hearts?’”