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Glasgow protest sees Border Agency van blocked during operation – Nicola Sturgeon furious


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Glasgow: Protestors surround immigration enforcement van

The immigration enforcement van was pictured parked on Kenmure Street, with protesters sitting on the road in front of it and a crowd around the vehicle and one man apparently lying underneath the vehicle. Roughly 200 protesters were reported to be at the scene, with chants of “Leave our neighbours, let them go” and “Cops go home” being heard.
A large number of police officers in face masks were in attendance.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “At around 9.55am this morning, police were called to support colleagues at the UK Border Agency at an address in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow.

“A number of protesters are now at the location. 

“Officers are at the scene and inquiries are continuing.”

Glasgow Pollakshields

The stand-off is happening in the Pollakshields area of the city (Image: GETTY)

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has also voiced her opinion (Image: Twitter)

Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, was one of what he said were hundreds of neighbours protesting against the action.

The 54-year-old said: “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 know… the guys are not even allowed to pray. How do you do that in a democratic society? It’s a sad day.”

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Police Glasgow

Police surround the van (Image: GETTY)

He added: “The good thing about this city and this country is these are all local people here who are here to defend their neighbours.”

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, wrote on Twitter: “Not close to the details on this but this is shocking, disgraceful and racist if people are raided by enforcement officers amidst the pandemic on the day of #Eid.”

Scotland’s First Minister is furious at the timing of the Home Office action, lashing out at the Westminster Government in a series of tweets. 

She said: “Today’s events were entirely down to UK Home Office actions. Police Scotland were in an invidious position – they do not assist in the removal of asylum seekers but do have a duty to protect public safety. They act independently of ministers, but I support this decision.

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Protesters Scotland

Protesters make their point in support of those about to be deported (Image: GETTY)

Protests Glasgow

An estimated 200 protesters were reported to be at the scene (Image: GETTY)

Police and protesters in Pollakshields

Police and protesters in Pollakshields (Image: PA)

“I disagree fundamentally with UK Home Office immigration policy but even putting that aside, this action was unacceptable. To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.

“Both as MSP and as FM, I will be demanding assurances from the UK Government that they will never again create, through their actions, such a dangerous situation. No assurances were given – and frankly no empathy shown – when I managed to speak to a junior minister earlier.”

Tom, a neighbour who joined the protest, compared the immigration operation on Eid to a police raid on Christmas Day.

The 31-year-old, who did not want to give his surname, said: “The solidarity shown today shows the community will not stand for their neighbours being dragged from their homes.

“I’d ask Christians to reflect on what it would feel like to have your house raided on Christmas Day.”

He said the police presence was “increasing fairly rapidly”, with 10 vans at the scene at around midday.

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has asked to speak to Home Secretary Priti Patel (Image: GETTY)

I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office

Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon waded in earlier, tweeting: “As constituency MSP, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid.

“My office is making urgent enquiries and stands ready to offer any necessary assistance to those detained.”

She subsequently added: “The UK Home Office action today is creating a dangerous and unacceptable situation in Pollokshields.

“As local MSP, I am also seeking urgent answers from them – they must resolve this situation ASAP.”

Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was also voiced his concern (Image: GETTY)

Ms Sturgeon also retweeted a post by Sikhs In Scotland voicing concern about the situation. 

Scotland’s Justice Secretary and MSP for Glasgow Pollok Humza Yousaf has asked to speak to Mrs Patel about the scenes in Glasgow.

He tweeted: “This UK Border Force Operation, in Polloksheilds, the heart of the Muslim community, on Eid is a demonstration of the UK Govt’s hostile environment.

Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

“I have asked to speak to the Home Secretary to gain further details & make clear just how unacceptable this situation is.”

He subsquently added: “I am disappointed that out of 8 Home Office Ministers none of them could make themselves available to speak to me.

“Having spoken to the DG for Home Office in Scotland I have urged him to abandon the forced removal.

“He will consider next steps & I have requested an update.”

Glasgow: Protesters surround van to stop immigration removal

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he was “disgusted by the Home Office raids”.

He tweeted: “It is particularly unacceptable that this is happening during a pandemic, in an area that has a spike in cases and on the day of Eid.”

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has yet to comment.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Home Office for comment.

(More to follow)

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed


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