Glasgow protesters successfully halt deportation of neighbours by UK Home Office
The people of Glasgow stood firm and stopped the deportation in its tracks
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.
Protesters in Glasgow have successfully halted the deportation of two members of their community by UK Immigration Enforcement. ✊ pic.twitter.com/lUFowVwXKO
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) May 13, 2021
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.”
"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:
This is Lakhvir Singh who was locked in the back of UK Immigration Enforcement van for 8 hours today, before ‘people power’ in the Glasgow community forced a u-turn. He’s now released and back with family. Our exclusive on @itvnews at 10 tonight. https://t.co/mrJ10eXH0p pic.twitter.com/7Rqxl9RSIM
— Peter A Smith (@PeterAdamSmith) May 13, 2021
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.
With boys after their release:
Free after 10 hours. Thank you to the people of Glasgow.
People in Scotland do not want the Tory hostile environment, with UK Home Office raids on our neighbours
I am so proud of this city and it’s people. @NicolaSturgeon #HostileToryEnvironment pic.twitter.com/bmBk8F64b6
— Mohammad N Asif (@MohammadAsif_1) May 13, 2021