Glasgow immigration raid: Men detained by Home Office released after face off between police and protesters on Eid

·3-min read

Men detained in a Home Office van have been released following a face off between police and protesters in Glasgow.

A crowd of around 200 people gathered in Kenmure Street this morning, with people lying under a Home Office van to stop it moving.

Dozens of police officers surrounded the vehicle as people chanted "cops go home" and "leave our neighbours, let them go".

Just after 5pm, police Scotland issued a statement to say the men in the van had been released.

It said: "In order to protect the safety, public health and well-being of all people involved in the detention and subsequent protest in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, today, Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, has, following a suitable risk assessment, taken the operational decision to release the men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement back into their community meantime.

"In order to facilitate this quickly and effectively, Police Scotland is asking members of the public to disperse from the street as soon as possible. Please take care when leaving the area and follow the directions of the officers on the street."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is the MSP for the area, tweeted: "Today's events were entirely down to @ukhomeoffice actions."

She added that 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".

Ms Sturgeon went on: "I disagree fundamentally with @ukhomeoffice 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 & safety risk."

The first minister added that she will be seeking reassurances from the UK government that a similar situation will not happen again, adding that she is seeking for immigration policy to be handed over to the devolved administration.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said the force was called at 9.55am to support the UK Border Agency.

He added: "The call was made by UK Immigration Enforcement (UKIE) after a group of protesters gathered at the address where UKIE staff were in attendance.

"Police Scotland does not assist in the removal of asylum seekers. Officers are at the scene to police the protest and to ensure public safety."

Mohammad Asif, the director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, was one of the people at the protests.

He 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."

One neighbour, who only gave their name as Tom, compared the events happening on Eid to a raid on Christmas Day.

Eid al-Fitr is the celebration that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan in Islam.

Tom 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."

The Home Office has been approached for a comment.

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