Glasgow protesters successfully halt deportation of neighbours by UK Home Office 1 month ago

Glasgow protesters successfully halt deportation of neighbours by UK Home Office

The people of Glasgow stood firm and stopped the deportation in its tracks

Locals in Polloksheilds, Glasgow, surrounded an immigration enforcement van for several hours yesterday, protesting against a deportation raid that took place during Eid al-Fitr.

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The chants from the crowd rang out: "these are our neighbours, let them go!" and in the small town in Southside of Glasgow suddenly, where many should have been celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan, they were fighting injustice.

Around 200 or so people gathered, holding signs that read "refugees are welcome" and one man even climbed underneath the van to stop it from moving.

As they continued to stand firm, not allowing the van to leave the street nor buckling when the police tried to move them, their persistence paid off and the two individuals were released and embraced in some truly moving scenes by the neighbours of Kenmure Street:

The two men were escorted through the cheering crowd and ultimately released to the local mosque. Pinar Aksu, of Maryhill Integration Network said: “They messed with the wrong city.”

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Newly re-elected First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon - who tweeted that she was also troubled by the initial scenes -  went on to say that the "Home Office needs to ask itself hard questions after today".

"Doing this on Eid, in the heart of our Muslim community, and in the midst of a serious Covid outbreak was staggeringly irresponsible - but the even deeper problem is an appalling asylum & immigration policy", she added.

One of the individuals locked in the van was Lakhvir Singh, a 34-year-old from India who spoke to various news outlets after the overwhelming response from his neighbours:

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Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation - who himself fled Afghanistan back in 2000 - was one of the hundreds of neighbours peacefully protesting.

Speaking to PA news agency on Thursday, Mr. Asif gave the following statement:

“We’re here against the hostile environment created by the Tories and the British state. The same people who run from the British and American bombs put at the back of the van right now. And they are about to be deported. And it’s on Eid you [...] the guys are not even allowed to pray. How do you do that in a democratic society? It’s a sad day.”

He is right. However, in what will go down as a stark reminder of the heavy-handed mistreatment of refugees that arrive in Britain hoping for a better life, this particular chapter demonstrated immense solidarity of spirit among a local community and highlighted that there are still plenty of people with compassion in Britain.