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Artists head walk of compassion through London for refugees

Two of the world's most renowned artists have led dozens of supporters in a walk through London to urge the UK and Europe to do more to tackle the refugee crisis.

British-Indian sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor branded the UK government's promise to allow 20,000 refugees into the country over four and a half years as "pathetic" as he joined Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei for the protest.

Both artists carried single blankets as "a symbol of the need that faces 60 million refugees in our world today", a spokeswoman for the event said.

They began their seven-mile route from the Royal Academy of Arts in central London, passing Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street in Whitehall, Fleet Street and St Paul's Cathedral before eventually arriving in Stratford, east London.

Sir Anish, a Turner prize winner, said: "Britain's been rather sad and poor in its response, mostly lacking in imagination and humanity. Creatively pathetic.

"Humanity is something without limits so can we not find creative, open, human answers?"

Asked whether the UK's promise to take in 20,000 refugees was enough, Sir Anish replied: "That's 4,000 a year over five years. Don't you think that's pathetic? Not a human response. That's still a response that puts a political picture before a human picture."

Asked what he thought the walk would achieve, he added: "Today will achieve nothing. We're not asking to achieve anything. We're just going for a walk!"

Mr Ai - who received an apology from the Home Office after they initially refused him a visa to travel to London - said there was "not enough effort" from the UK to bring refugees into the country.

He said: "The UK and other European countries should have a reasonable plan for refugees.

"If Britain fail to do so, it would be such a shame. It would mean the UK has become so weak."

Both artists have said they will stage similar walks in cities around the world in the coming months.


From Belfast Telegraph