AROUND 100 members of an exiled community have begun an occupation of one of the UK’s most famous landmarks.

Chagossians were removed from their island homeland – now called the British Indian Ocean Territory – to make way for a military base in the 1960s and 70s.

Despite years of protest and legal challenges, they have been never been allowed to return home.

Yesterday, Chagossians gathered in Trafalgar Square to highlight their “ongoing struggle for justice”.

Isabelle Charlot, chair of the Chagos Islanders Movement, said there is a pressing need for redress as deportees grow older.

She said: “The Chagossian community have been ignored for far too long. We had hope that one day the British Government will recognise their wrongdoing and apologise to us.

“Our home is being used as US naval base but we Chagossians are left homeless.

“We do not want to lose our identity. If the first generation died, then we are finished. We need the world to know our history and stop this tragedy. We believe that people of the Great Britain can make our leaders to hear our voice.”

The protest is expected to last until Tuesday and comes just a few days after Dominique Elysee, born in Mauritius after his parents were removed from the Chagos Islands, lost his court battle for British citizenship.

The Sussex resident missed out on status due to cut off dates imposed by the UK Government and is the only member of his family without citizenship.

Charlot said mental health problems are “common” for UK-based Chagossians as a result of stress, visa fees and other issues related to exile.

Commenting on the occupation, Tom Guha, chair of UK Chagos Support Association – which counts poet Benjamin Zephaniah as its patron – said: “This should serve as a reminder for the Government, and the whole country, that after 50 years the Chagossian people still have not received justice.

“We should all get behind Chagossians’ fight for the basic rights – to live in our homeland, not to be forced from our family – that we all take for granted.”