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Amnesty protest body bags
#DontLetThemDrown – Amnesty International sends a message on Brighton beachAmnesty International

Why Amnesty dumped 200 body bags on Brighton beach

After hundreds of people drowned at sea the charity has left a poignant reminder that these lives matter

As part of Amnesty International's "Don't Let Them Drown" campaign, the charity left 200 body bags lined up in rows on Brighton beach today, with a funeral wreath amongst the bags and a banner containing the message #DontLetThemDrown. Inside the first few rows of body bags were Amnesty supporters - the rest with pebbles and stones.

On April 18, an estimated 900 people drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat trying to reach Italy from North Africa sank. 22,000 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2000, 1,600 of them this year – two shocking statistics. Amnesty International considers the UK government's response to the crisis unacceptable and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg penned an article for the Guardian in which he says that the EU decision to end search and rescue operations "looks to have been wrong".

Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen, said: “Until now, the UK Government’s response has been shameful but finally they have been woken up to the need to act. EU governments must now urgently turn their rhetoric into action to stop more people drowning on their way to Europe.”

The charity has also published a "blueprint for action" asking European leaders to establish a plan of action, effective immediately. Tomorrow, David Cameron will meet with other EU leaders in order to try and work out how best to respond to the crisis. Amnesty has launched a petition to make this issue the priority tomorrow in Brussels – sign here.