Chants of ‘save Yashika’ echoed across Westminster as hundreds protested against a schoolgirl’s deportation.
Students and teachers from Oasis Academy, in Enfield, held a rally in support of Yashika Bageerathi, who is due to be sent back to Mauritius by the Home Office at 5.30pm tomorrow.
The 19-year-old’s appeal for asylum was turned down over Christmas, shattering her dreams of completing her A-levels at the school and going on to study maths at university.
Her mother, Sowbhagyawatee, and her younger brother and sister are also due to be deported at a later date.
But the sixth former's friends have refused to accept the heartbreaking news and today appealed to Home Secretary Theresa May to “stop the injustice” in the peaceful rally.
Speaking from Westminster, head teacher Lynne Dawes called on the Government to allow the teenager to stay in the UK to finish her A-levels.
She said: “Theresa May could literally click her fingers and this would all go away.
“I spoke to Yashika this morning and she was dreadful - very distressed about what might happen to her.
“She’ll have nobody to meet her at the airport, she will have nowhere to go and will be left totally homeless and vulnerable.
“This protest is the students fighting back. We all care for each other, there is a strong sense of family here.”
The students blew whistles, shouted the slogan ‘they say deportation, we say education’, and held placards bearing the words ‘Fight for Yashika’.
Other placards said: 'Yashika's right is education, not a lonely deportation'.
Yashika, of Fox Lane, Palmers Green, arrived in the UK in 2012, claiming a drug dealer had barged into her home and tried to rape her.
She was initially due to be deported on Tuesday - but after British Airways refused to let her board the flight she was taken back to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre, where she has been since March 19.
The pupils were initially due to hold the protest next Tuesday, but took the last minute decision to bring it forward after discovering the Home Office had issued her with a new ticket for tomorrow.
Best friend Courage Emeka, 17, said: “We want the Home Office to be compassionate - we really want them to listen to us. We’re going all out.
“It’s been very emotional today. We’re all scared, the thought of her being out their alone. I miss her so much - we all do.”
Over 160,000 people have signed an online petition against her deportation and thousands have backed a Twitter campaign.
Fellow pupil Asena Akyez said: “Having her back with us would complete our school. She’s missed out on so many milestones with us. The atmosphere around school is horrible right now.
“This protest is our way of showing them we won’t back down, we’ll do all we can to save our friend”.