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Residents Protest Plans for British Asylum Center - 2002-05-19

More than one thousand people gathered in the village of Throckmorton west of London Sunday to protest the British government's controversial plans to open a center for asylum seekers.

The village of 150 residents has been chosen as one of three sites for large-scale centers that will accommodate hundreds of people for up to six months while their claims are processed.

A spokesman for the protest's organizers said the rally is a beginning of a very long campaign to force the government to abandon the project.

The government in London says the centers will provide comprehensive services for asylum applicants. But the refugee advocates insist asylum seekers are better off in cities than in isolated rural areas.