Activists took to the streets of Southampton to call on for safer passage for refugees, following the deaths of 27 migrants crossing the English Channel.

Taking to Above Bar Street on Saturday, the members were from Southampton Stand Up Against Racism and the Unite union.

It comes just a few days after a boat of migrants sank wile attempting to cross from France to England.

Steve Squibbs, secretary of Southampton Stand Up to Racism, said: “We’re here first and foremost to show our solidarity with the twenty-seven men, women and children who drowned in the channel during the week. It’s heart-breaking. It was also foreseeable and preventable.

“The reality is these people are forced to take these dangerous journeys because all the official resettlement routes are closed. People don’t have a choice; you don’t get into a boat and make a dangerous journey like that unless you’re desperate."

Also at the event was Jaynti Shah, who has been awarded an MBE for his community work promoting anti-racism for over 50 years.

He said: “It’s sad that nearly thirty people died last week, and we have not got any legal route for people to seek asylum as refugees in this country. This country has an obsession with controlling our borders, an obsession with not letting people in. Would it surprise you to know that since the war we have had more immigration bills than housing bills or education bills? We talk the talk of ‘global Britain’, yet we act as if we are a little island. Let’s not talk about our country, let’s talk about our world.

“Of course Britain is great, of course our country is great, but we have an obligation to the rest of the world."

He added: “Southampton City Council has hosted some Afghan families, despite the amount of resources that are actually spent, they still rely on voluntary contribution, they still rely on volunteers. Presenting simple things like food and bedding, I think Southampton City Council could be a lot more helpful on that."