Thousands Of Londoners March In Solidarity With Refugees

Photo: Tolga Akmen/LNP/Rex/REX USA
Tens of thousands of Londoners came out in full force Saturday, taking to the streets for the Solidarity With Refugees march, to show their support for those who have been displaced by violence and civil war in the Middle East and North Africa, The Guardian reports.

Many of the marchers showed solidarity with signs, making it very clear anyone seeking asylum is welcome in their city. Most stuck with simple, direct messages of "Refugees Welcome," while others got more pointed with England's government, including one sign, which seemed to have a clear bone to pick with England's conservative party, "Can we swap the Tory Party for 100,000 refugees?"

A photo posted by Peter Clarke (@pete133) on

The number is in reference to a recent petition that was looking for 100,000 signatures β€” but got over 400,000 β€” asking for the U.K. to "offer proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts."

"We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe, and inhumane conditions in Europe," the petition stated. "We must help."

The U.K. government responded, saying they would take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years. Some (like the creatively worded sign below states) do not think that number is enough. The United States has said it will take 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.

Sign of the day. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘ #RefugeesWelcome #refugeecrisis #refugeemarch

A photo posted by Nikhil (@nkotak91) on

Many carried signs featuring Paddington Bear, who is already a national treasure in England, but has recently become a symbol to show support for Syrian refugees looking for safe harbor in London.

According to the BBC, many Facebook users have changed their pics to Paddington Bear, who came from the "darkest Peru" to England looking for a family to take him in. Author Michael Bond has said his polite traveling bear was inspired by the Jewish children who were forced to evacuate in World War II. According to the European Commission, the world is now facing a refugee crisis that is considered to be the worst since WWII.

"When I was small, I had memories of children being evacuated from London with a label around their necks and all their possessions in a suitcase, and this became part of Paddington as well," Bond told the BBC in 2012.

Paddington wore a label around his neck during his travels, reading, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." The sign below, spotted at the London march features a new tag that reads, "Please look after refugees."

If you are looking to show support for the 300,000 refugees who have made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea, the United Nations has a few ideas.

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