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News / Lone protester holds her final vigil

OVER THE last six months many people passing by Lerwick Town Hall will have spoken to Anne Dobbing who has been conducting a silent vigil in protest of the government’s nationality and borders act.

She said people needed to be aware of what is being done in their name and described the bill as “wicked’ as it will criminalise refugees seeking asylum in the UK.

Anne Dobbing outside Lerwick Town Hall on Thursday. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

The former B&B owner from Yell said she felt appalled by the inhumanity of the bill which went through parliament and was signed into law just weeks after the horrific events in Ukraine led to millions of people fleeing their home country.

She started standing outside the town hall every Thursday for an hour or two in the hope to raise awareness and have conversations with people.

“We have a responsibility to other people,” she said. “We are well fed and have a roof over our head.

“Lots of people offered a home to Ukrainians, but just imagine Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq. This new law is wicked, and we should not be doing this to people who have escaped war and rape.”

The UK Government said when the bill was passed into law that the new legislation will “deter illegal entry into the UK, breaking the business model of people-smuggling networks, and speed up the removal of those with no right to be in the UK”.

Asked why she has chosen to protest on the Hillhead rather than in Commercial Street where she would have reached more people, Dobbing said she would not have felt comfortable and added that she has had some really good conversations with people who wanted to learn more.

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This Thursday, however, is the last time she will be standing outside the town hall because she and her husband are moving to Galloway to be closer to her daughter.

Her protest however will continue elsewhere. With the new government in place and the re-appointment of Suella Braverman as home secretary taking a stance is more important than ever, she said.

Meanwhile, Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael highlighted in parliament that the Home Office backlog in processing claims has soared under the current government since 2019, passing 100,000 claims.

“In the course of consideration of the Nationality and Borders Act, we were told repeatedly that the provisions of that bill were necessary to stop the flow of small boats crossing the Channel,” Carmichael said.

“It is on their watch that the backlog in claims has soared past 100,000 since 2019. 

“Whatever your views on how the immigration system should work in this country, the Conservative record of incompetence and bureaucracy means that they have no leg to stand on. The Home Office needs a clean sweep – starting with scandal-ridden Suella Braverman.”

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