Brighton Pride protesters occupy British Airways tower to challenge ‘devastating’ deportations

LGBT activists have occupied a British Airways-owned landmark in Brighton to protest the company’s compliance with migrant deportation during the city’s Pride parade.

Members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) locked themselves in the i360 observation tower this afternoon, as the parade was in full swing, to protest the “jarring hypocrisy” of BA sponsoring Brighton Pride while deporting asylum seekers.

Data released by the Home Office in November 2017, described by the department as “experimental,” revealed that 74 percent of asylum claims made at least partly on the basis of sexual orientation were rejected.

LGSM protesters held the fort outside the i360 (Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants)

But despite a LGSM starting a petition which has now been signed by more than 51,000 people, and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott joining the cause this week by signing an open letter, BA has refused to follow Virgin Atlantic’s example in ending its part in the deportations.

Sam Bjorn, an LGSM spokesperson, told PinkNews: “By providing space for deportations on their flights, British Airways are having a devastating impact on communities across the UK.

“British Airways are taking people, against their will, to countries where they risk persecution, or have very little connection to.

“Not only is the airline unflinchingly putting people’s lives in danger, it is also making their staff unwillingly complicit in the brutality of the UK’s hostile environment policy,” Bjorn added.

“British Airways are taking people, against their will, to countries where they risk persecution” (Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants)

“Sponsoring Brighton and Hove Pride is not compatible with supporting brutal and and unjust deportations. We won’t stand by and let a company hide behind our rainbow while it is complicit in the Home Office’s cruel deportations.

“British Airways should join Virgin Atlantic in committing to end all forced deportations on their flights.”

LGSM protesters outside the tower chanted: “British Airways, shame on you” as they supported their fellow members inside.

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