‘Refugee Welcome’ event to be held in Leeds

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Social campaigners have organised a ‘Refugees Welcome’ event to take place in Leeds city centre to raise awareness of the current crisis.

Anti-austerity group ‘bloc’ will host the event at Milo bar on Call Lane featuring key speakers and bands on October 9.

A group of Syrians, Afghans and Palestinians arriving in Greece. PA

A group of Syrians, Afghans and Palestinians arriving in Greece. PA

It aims to highlight refugees’ plight in an “open and inclusive” way in what organisers acknowledge has been a divisive issue in the city, The event follows a similar campaign at the Real Junk Food Project in Armley which attracted a backlash last month from some local residents after painting ‘Refugees Welcome’ on its wall.

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Police became involved after the vandals painted over the message and staff claimed they had been threatened with violence.

John Newsham, 25, a founding member of bloc, said this latest event has been attracting interest since it was announced.

He said: “When we set up the event we expected to attract quite a small crowd but we’ve got quite a big crowd following online.

“Similar to the Real Junk Food Project, we’ve had some negative comments but we’re not trying to be provocative or confrontational - we’re trying to engage with these people and respond positively.”

Speakers on the night include Leeds City of Sanctuary, Yorkshire Aid and Adam Smith, of the Real Junk Food Project.

John said: “It’s not going to be a political night but more a community event to raise awareness of this issue. It’s about showing that there are a lot of people across the country, and in Leeds, who are committed to looking for a positive way to help with the refugee crisis.”

He added: “We are aware that this is a divisive issue for many within the city.

“However, we are hoping to put forward our point of view in an open and inclusive way.”

For more information visit search ‘Refugees Welcome Here Leeds’ on Facebook.

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