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Glasgow raid: Anger in Scotland over immigration removal during Eid al-Fitr

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows police by an immigration enforcement van in Kenmure Street, Glasgow, which is surrounded by protesters, on May 13, 2021. (Photo by PA)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the Home Office for the detention and removal of a group of people from their Glasgow home during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Hundreds of Glasgow residents engaged in a tense standoff with immigration officials, surrounding an immigration enforcement van when it arrived at the property in Pollokshields, on the Southside of Glasgow, on Thursday during the Muslim festivities. 

The protesters prevented the vehicle, carrying the detainees, from driving away, chanting “these are our neighbors, let them go,” with one protester lying under the van to prevent it driving off.

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”, Sturgeon added.

The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) depicted the action of the UK Home Office as “dangerous and unacceptable” and requested “urgent answers” from the UK government, stressing that “they must resolve this situation ASAP.”

The protesters in Pollokshields highlighted the jarring impact of carrying out such an action during Eid al-Fitr in one of the most multicultural areas of the city and within the constituency of the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, said those detained were to be deported.

"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”, he told the Press Association.

“We’re here against the hostile environment created by the Tories and the British state,” Asif said, complaining that “the guys are not even allowed to pray. How do you do that in a democratic society?”

It is the second dawn raid in Glasgow in less than a month, in what appears to be a further deterioration of the UK's hostile environment policy.

Despite the fact that the SNP has argued strongly for Scotland to have power of its own immigration policies, not least because of the country's specific depopulation pressures, it remains reserved to Westminster.

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