114 refugees fleeing the war in Syria make the mistake of landing in Cyprus at RAF Akrotiri. They were aiming for Greece but missed and ended up in Cyprus. A bit if a mistake, but Akrotiri is UK sovereign territory so they got lumbered with us. Fair enough – they’ve escaped the war…
We take them in and provide them with tents as shelter while we sort out what’s going to happen with the Cypriots. The Cypriots don’t move quickly, and the migrants were taken to the new ‘temporary transit facility’ at Dhekelia as authorities said it was ‘more suitable accommodation’. They’re frustrated at being confined there, but they’ve got food and shelter and they’ve escaped the war.
On Monday night they decided that things weren’t moving the way they wanted, so they set some of tents on fire and started protesting – aka rioting – and had to be restrained by British forces. So now they’re still frustrated and have less tents to shelter in – but they’ve escaped the war.
Ironically one of the men responsible for stirring things up is a Palestinian from Lebanan – so he hasn’t got a war to escape from! He said “We didn’t want to come here. We were going to Greece. None of us wants to be here… we should go to England. We told them we want to go to England, but they told us, “no”. Now we’re in a British prison.”
The British government’s point of view is that they don’t want to risk opening up another migrant route into Europe via the Cyprus bases. Quite right too. They want to go to England? Well technically they already are and, after all, they have managed to escape the war.
My point of view? Well, you’ve got food and shelter and you’re safe. Presumably the Syrians amongst you – the genuine refugees – are a lot safer now than they were when they were back in Syria. So I’m very sorry that you feel we should be shipping you to the UK and housing you, feeding you and giving you benefits…
…but if you don’t like it, then fuck off back to the war zone you say you were so desperate to escape from!