Thousands of refugee lifejackets in eerie London ‘graveyard’ display
The lifejackets, representing refugees who have died at sea, have been laid out in lines on the grass, with Big Ben providing a backdrop to the striking and unsettling scene.
The lifejacket display seeks to highlight the reality of the migrant crisis and urge governments to do more to help. It was set up to coincide with the first United Nations summit on the refugee crisis in New York.
A number of refugees are at Parliament Square to highlight their stories. For many, the lifejackets will bring back traumatic memories.
Video production company, Snappin’ Turtle Productions came up with the idea and were supported by refugee organizations.
Organizers have been working on the plan for six months, and volunteers began setting up at 5 a.m. Monday morning.
Of the 2,500 lifejackets, more than 600 were used by children to cross the sea. The jackets were collected from the Greek island of Chios where refugees crossed the sea from Turkey.
In New York, a similar display of 400 used lifejackets was set up by international charity Oxfam at Brooklyn Bridge Park before the UN refugee summit which takes place today.
While the lifejackets seek to remind people of their collective responsibility towards refugees, London’s display caused some to express their disdain for the refugees and their plight.
Others said the UK should focus on its foreign policy instead of installations to address the issue.
The UK Prime Minister Theresa May will speak at the UN summit, where she is expected to push leaders to make the distinction between refugees and economic migrants and warn of the danger of economic migrants posing as refugees.