Online trolls called out for their ‘heartless’ reaction to 27 people dying in Channel migrant tragedy

Online trolls called out for their ‘heartless’ reaction to 27 people dying in Channel migrant tragedy

Women and children are amongst the 27 people who have drowned after an inflatable dinghy sank in the worst migrant tragedy the English Channel has ever seen.

Five women and a young girl are amongst the dead according to French interior minister Gerald Darmanin. Another person is said to still be missing while two others are fighting for their lives in hospital.

Prime minister Boris Johnson, who called an emergency Cobra meeting, has said that he is “shocked, appalled and deeply saddened” and has offered to give France extra help to “demolish” the people-smuggling gangs that are “getting away with murder.”

The incident is thought to be the single worst loss of life in the Channel crossing since the International Organization for Migration began collecting data in 2014.

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Home secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “My thoughts are with the families of all of those who have tragically lost their lives in French waters today.

“It serves as the starkest possible reminder of the dangers of these Channel crossings organised by ruthless criminal gangs.

“It is why this Government’s New Plan for Immigration will overhaul our broken asylum system and address many of the long-standing pull factors encouraging migrants to make the perilous journey from France to the United Kingdom.”

French president Emmanuel Macron has said that he will not let the Channel become a “cemetery” but pointed out that 47,000 have attempted to make the crossing in 2021 with 7,800 needing to be rescued. This was despite 1,552 being arrested and 44 smuggler networks disbanded.

This tragic loss of life has been largely greeted with an outpouring of emotion and grief and calls for the government to eradicate this problem to avoid a repeat of this avoidable incident. However, as many have pointed out, there are still a few people who still can’t bring themselves to emphasise or show compassion for the migrants.

Former footballer and TV host Gary Lineker called out several people who tried to claim that this wasn’t a problem that the UK needed to solve and had nothing to do with the government’s strict immigration policy. The 60-year-old eventually admitted that he had to block accounts, who he called “heartless.”

Elsewhere, author Marie Gardiner and journalist Liam Thorp pointed out the multitude of dismissive comments that have appeared on Twitter in the last 24 hours in reaction to the news.

In contrast, many people have championed the words of Zoe Gardner from the Joint Council of Welfare for Immigrants who told BBC Breakfast: “This has to be a time for our Government to mark a turning point, this tragedy must not be allowed to continue and that means changing our approach, not more of the same failed policies.

“Until we have a bill that offers people an alternative way to travel… we are complicit with the people smugglers.”

Additional Reporting from Press Association.

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