Migrants give thumbs up at Dover one day after Rwanda flight chaos

Another 150 migrants cross English Channel – a day after Rwanda flight was grounded by Euro court: Asylum seekers give thumbs up as dozens arrive in Dover and 12 land on beach in Devon ‘before fleeing in waiting cars’

  • At least 150 migrants, including children, crossed the English Channel today
  • Asylum seekers blew kisses and waved their arms as they docked in Dover, Kent
  • Today’s low winds have created ideal weather conditions for crossing attempts
  • It comes a day after a relocation flight to Rwanda was halted at the last minute

Asylum seekers gave onlookers a thumbs up as they arrived in Dover as dozens of migrants crossed the English Channel – just one day after the relocation flight to Rwanda was grounded at the last minute. 

At least 150 migrants crossed the Channel today as low winds have created ideal weather conditions for crossing attempts in small boats.

Meanwhile, police have launched a probe after 12 people landed on a beach in Devon this morning before being taken away in two cars that were ‘waiting for them.’ 

In Dover, the first group, which included a number of women and children, arrived on board Border Force catamaran Typhoon around 10.15am.

They were escorted off the boat by Border Force staff dressed in white hazmat suits and soldiers in camouflage fatigues and high-vis jackets.

Dozens of migrants arrived at Dover, Kent, today as one cheery man gave a thumbs up to onlookers 

At least 150 asylum seekers crossed the English Channel today – just one day after the relocation flight to Rwanda was halted by the European Court of Human Rights

One man could be seen holding the hand of a toddler as he disembarked the vessel. 

The young boy, wearing a green jumper, grabbed the rails of the walkway playfully.

Two more children – a boy and a girl of primary school-age – followed closely behind as they were led along the gangway to be processed by UK officials.

Less than two hours later, dozens more migrants arrived at the harbour on board Border Force cutter Vigilant. Among them were several young families with small children.

Tuesday was meant to mark the first flight of the Government’s much-vaunted Rwanda resettlement scheme for UK asylum seekers.

At the start of the day, just seven names remained of the 130 on the original passenger list after a series of legal challenges. So how did the day unfold?

12.42pm – The Supreme Court rejected an appeal over a judge’s refusal to call off the removal of an asylum seeker due to be deported. 

2.05pm – The first of four appeals before the High Court was rejected by Lord Justice Swift.

2.30pm – The second and third asylum seekers’ appeals were also refused at the High Court by Lord Swift.

3.30pm – The Prime Minister admits it may be ‘necessary to change some laws’ in an interview with Sky News to allow the Rwanda resettlement scheme.

4.30pm – A fourth asylum seeker’s claim is also rejected at the High Court by Lord Swift. 

4.35pm – A Boeing 767 aircraft is spotted on the runway at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

4.40pm – Rwanda government spokeswoman Yolande Maloki defends the resettlement scheme in a press conference and insists it is not a punishment.

6.10pm – Protesters from ‘Stop Deportations!’ block the exit routes from Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow.

6.40pm – In a decisive turning point, the European Court of Human Rights passes an injunction preventing a 54-year-old Iraqi man from being transferred on the flight. 

6.55pm – Around five Home Office vans are spotted at MoD Boscombe Down. 

7.20pm – Speculation mounts whether the flight will go ahead after the ECHR’s ruling.

7.45pm – Demonstrators gather at the front of Mod Boscombe Down waving banners. 

9.30pm – There are reports of just three asylum seekers on the plane, which was due to take off shortly.

10pm – Reports emerge that there is just one asylum seeker left on the plane amid confusion over whether it will depart.

10.10pm – The final asylum seeker is removed from the Boeing 767 aircraft, at which point it  is announced the flight has been cancelled.

While some covered their faces with blankets as they got off the boat, one man leapt in the air in joy.

He gave a thumbs up to onlookers before blowing kisses and throwing his arms in the air.

Two boats used to attempt the crossing were brought into Dover Harbour today- both appearing in poor condition and partially deflated. 

A further 50 migrants landed approximately 30 miles away along the Kent coast at Dungeness around midday. They were met by two police vehicles and a coach as they walked up the beach.

The new arrivals come just a day after a relocation flight to Rwanda was halted at the last minute by the European Court of Human Rights.

Tuesday was meant to mark the first flight of the Government’s much-vaunted Rwanda resettlement scheme for UK asylum seekers. 

The dramatic developments came after days of wrangling in Britain’s highest Supreme Court over the plans, which upheld the government’s right to go ahead with the flight. 

Ministers have insisted the deal with Rwanda can deter migrants from coming to the UK and save lives – pointing to the fact that yesterday 444 more people crossed the Channel in flimsy dinghies. 

Priti Patel told MPs today: ‘The British people have repeatedly voted for controlled immigration and the right to secure borders. This is a Government that acts and hears that message clearly. And we are determined to deliver that.’

She added: ‘We believe that we are fully compliant with our domestic and international obligations, and preparations for our future flights and the next flights have already begun.’

Ms Patel has insisted the Rwanda policy is vital to prevent a repeat of tragedies such as the drowning of 27 men, women and children on November 24 last year. 

The injunction from the ECHR – which is not connected to the EU – meant lawyers representing the remaining six migrants on board including more Iraqis, an Iranian, a Vietnamese and an Albanian, then lodged their appeals to judges in London before the Home Office ultimately scrapped their removal orders.

At 10pm the final migrant was on board the plane, which cost the taxpayer an estimated £500,000 to charter, when he was told he was not flying to Africa.

A group of protesters had gathered outside Colnbrook Detention Centre in Heathrow yesterday afternoon and lay on the ground in an effort to halt the flight. 

But the cancellation was eventually forced after the ECHR ruled in favour of a 54-year-old Iraqi man, understood to have travelled to the UK by boat in May and thought to have been tortured in the past.

An unnamed judge effectively barred the man, identified only as KN, from being sent to Rwanda under its rules which apply when there is an ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’.

A dozen migrants are also believed to have been dropped off at Slapton Sands, Devon shortly after 7am this morning – almost 280 miles away from Dover.

Police were called to reports of a speed boat carrying 12 people landing at the beach.

The suspected migrants were reportedly taken to two waiting vehicles which then immediately left the area.

One toddler carried their belongings as they walked on the gangway to be processed by UK officials

One of the dozens of migrants who landed on the Kent coastline started blowing kisses and throwing his arms in the air 

They were escorted off the boat by Border Force staff dressed in white hazmat suits and soldiers in camouflage fatigues and high-vis jackets

Migrants could be seen walking off the boats as they were led along the gangway to be processed by officials

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘A large policing response was sent to the area following this incident being reported to us, but at this time no arrests have been made and those who landed on the beach, currently believed to be migrants, have yet to have been located.

‘Our initial report states that those who landed on the beach were immediately taken into two vehicles that were waiting near-by and which immediately left the area.

‘The vehicles are described as a silver people carrier with blacked out windows, and the second vehicle a black people carrier.

‘We are appealing to the public to help us locate those responsible and so we can locate and ensure the welfare of those who landed on the beach.

‘We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area from 6.30am to 7.30am and who may have information that could assist with our enquiries.

‘We would also ask anyone who lives in this area of Dartmouth and near Slapton Sands to check dashcams and CCTV and to contact us immediately if they have any footage that can assist.

‘Please contact 101 quoting log 0101 Wednesday 15 June. Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling freephone 0800 555111.’

Police investigation launched after a dozen migrants are dropped off at Slapton Sands, Devon 

A dozen migrants are believed to have been dropped off at Slapton Sands, Devon shortly after 7am this morning – almost 280 miles away from Dover.

Police were called to reports of a speed boat carrying 12 people landing at the shingle beach.

The suspected migrants were reportedly taken to two waiting vehicles which then immediately left the area.

One vehicle was a silver people carrier with blacked out windows and the second was a black people carrier. 

Police confirmed they were investigating the alleged Channel crossing.  

 

The grounded Rwanda deportation flight EC-LZO Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base in Wiltshire last night

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