Men detained by immigration officers during Eid Al Fitr released after protest

Demonstrators gathered in largely Muslim part of Glasgow after officials raided property on Thursday

Protestors block an immigration enforcement van in Glasgow. Getty Images 
Protestors block an immigration enforcement van in Glasgow. Getty Images 

Scottish Police on Thursday released men detained during a raid by immigration officials on a property in Glasgow, after about 200 protesters gathered on the street.

The men were freed "to protect the safety, public health and well-being of all people involved in the detention and subsequent protest in Kenmure Street", Police Scotland said.

It said Chief Supt Mark Sutherland decided to release the men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement back into their community for now.

“I’ve been astonished and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the people of Glasgow," one of the men, Indian Lakhvir Singh, 34, told PA.

“At around 9.30am Immigration Enforcement carried out a raid and we were taken to security in the van.

“There were only five or six people at the time but word spread and then there were crowds of hundreds. We are so grateful for the support.”

The protesters gathered in a largely Muslim part of Scotland's biggest city after officials raided a property on Thursday, the start of the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

Hundreds of people surrounded an immigration enforcement van when it arrived at the property.

Watched by a large number of police, protesters sat on the road in front of the property and a crowd gathered around the Home Office vehicle, chanting "Leave our neighbours, let them go" and "Cops go home".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the UK Home Office for removing a group of people from their Glasgow home during Eid Al Fitr.

Ms Sturgeon said she was “deeply concerned” about the raids taking place during Eid.

“As constituency member of the Scottish Parliament, I am deeply concerned by this action by the Home Office, especially today in the heart of a community celebrating Eid,” she said.

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

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the Home Office’s actions were “reckless”.

“The situation should never have occurred," Mr Yousaf said. "The UK government’s hostile environment is not welcome here.

“I abhor Home Office immigration policy at the best of times, but to have taken the action they have today is at best completely reckless and at worst intended to provoke.”

There was no immediate comment from the Home Office on who were the targets of the raid but Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, indicated they were Afghans.

"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," Mr Asif said.

“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.”

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said the events were shocking.

“Not close to the details on this but this is shocking, disgraceful and racist if people are raided by enforcement officers amid the pandemic on the day of Eid,” Mr Zazai tweeted.

Updated: May 14, 2021 02:59 PM

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