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Petition Tag - bristol city council
Ibrahim from Algeria has been seeking asylum in Britain since 2005. He was educated to university level in Algeria without a leader, when both the Algerian National Army and armed Islamic militias began to take part in violence and human rights abuses directed at the Algerian civilian population, Ibrahim fled the army in protest and went into hiding in the mountains.
When a new president came into power in 1999, he felt safe enough to return to Algiers where he dedicated himself to writing a book entitled ‘Democracy in the Arab and Islamic World’. This book eloquently expresses his opinions on the ‘fierce conflict’ between democracy and Islam and shows a strongly held intellectual skepticism over the contemporary application of Islamic ‘Sharia’ law in Algeria. It was published in Paris in 2009.
The writing and publishing of his work caught the eye of hard-line Islamic militants. They accused him of being anti-Islamic, and started a hate campaign against him – they preached against him in the mosques, he received death threats and people beat and insulted him in the streets. They broke into his house, smashing down the door and tore up the manuscript oh his book and his other writings. At this point Ibrahim realized he had to flee the country or he could very soon lose his life.
He escaped to England by sea and land and not long after applied for asylum. At this point the troubles began that have lasted until now. His claim for asylum suffered set back after set back due to unsuitable interpreters and a shocking lack of legal advice and support throughout his case. He has been forced to spend long months and years waiting for repeated negative decision from the authorities.
He has been forced to move from house to house, surviving on next to nothing: not being legally allowed to work, and denied access to benefits and education. Finally he decided to apply to voluntarily return to Algeria, despite the obvious danger, but this also was refused on the grounds that they could not obtain a travel document for him. So, here he is – in an endless limbo; a horrific and dehumanizing no man’s land with no options left.
Ibrahim has finally and bravely decided to sleep out on College Green, in front of Bristol City Council, he has been sleeping there every single night since the 1st of July, for 19 days now, to tell his story openly, without fear or shame, to put it into the hands of the authorities and the British Public, hoping through this peaceful and poignant protest that the long years of waiting and suffering may finally be resolved.
By signing this petition you are showing your support for Ibrahim and for the many other destitute asylum seekers living in limbo, who experience absolute and severe poverty, who have no money and accommodation or the right to work and support themselves. In supporting the motion, we believe that the Council can send a strong message to the UK Government that its inhumane and ineffective policy of forcing people who have been refused asylum into abject poverty onto the streets of our city is unacceptable to the people of Bristol.
Bristol City Council have asked The Apple (www.applecider.co.uk) to remove its cold storage unit on the quayside. Without this, The Apple would be unable to continue to promote and sell the region's amazing local ciders as it would have nowhere to store them and no way of keeping them chilled.
The West of England produces the finest ciders in the world and should be recognised for this in exactly the same way that other regions of the world are recognised for their wines. The Apple is a unique, award winning venue which specialises in these ciders. Based on a boat in the heart of Bristol, the largest city of the region, The Apple has to physically collect these craft produced ciders from the local makers as there is no established distribution network. This means they have a large requirement for cold storage for their weekly collections, made larger by the enormous new-found popularity of these local drinks with local people of all ages.
It should be noted that The Apple has a superb record for the peaceable, friendly behaviour of it's customers, with virtually no incidents of trouble in it's entire history, unlike many other bars in the area. It is in fact a multi award winning, hugely popular local treasure, singled out in both local and national press as one of the best bars in the country.
Bristol City Council has twice set a clear precedent by giving permission for the next door neighbour The Spyglass to build an extension on the quayside and more recently an enclosed terrace. However, they are refusing to grant The Apple permission to retain their much, much smaller unit. They seem happy to support a mediterranean restaurant but not a venue promoting locally sourced food and drink, which is in turn supporting the local community and promoting the local area.
The council's argument is solely based around the idea that the area The Apple is in is designated a 'conservation area' where the council is obliged to protect the local character of the surroundings. The idea that a venue promoting the area's finest speciality does not fit in to the historic surroundings, whilst a mediterranean restaurant is deemed so appropriate that it is permitted to continually expand it's footprint next door, seems founded on a false, superficial sense of sophistication and a lack of pride in authentic local heritage.
The Apple are appealing the decision, please help by signing this petition. If they lose the appeal, Bristolians will once again have nowhere in Central Bristol to enjoy the fantastic, world-class craft produced ciders made in the region. In addition, visitors to the city will have much less exposure to this unique regional speciality which local government should really be doing everything they can to promote and support.
Find out more at www.applecider.co.uk