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19 May 2021

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Glasgow mass action defeats Home Office deportation attempt

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Thursday 13 May will go down in Glasgow history. Attempts by the Home Office to detain two Indian men - chef Sumit Sehdev and mechanic Lakhvir Singh - prior to deportation provoked a massive community mobilisation. For eight hours the men were held in the detention van, surrounded by protesters blocking the vehicle from leaving. After a prolonged standoff the men were freed. This was a massive victory against the racist immigration laws and practices of the Tory government. Andrew, a member of Socialist Party Scotland, who attended the protest reports.

At approximately 10am on Thursday 13 May the Home Office called for the police to help to complete a raid on the home of two Indian men living on Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow. Neighbours had intervened, with one man lying under the immigration enforcement van to prevent it leaving - he would continue to do this for another eight hours.

Word quickly spread through the neighbourhood and on social media and the crowd grew. Within an hour what had started as a small-scale standoff with immigration officials had developed into a fully fledged demonstration, with an estimated 200 protesters by noon.

Initially, the van was guarded by 20 officers from Police Scotland, but they were gradually accompanied by an extensive caravan of riot police and horses posted on standby in the various adjacent streets. Likewise, the protest grew, doubling and tripling in size into the evening.

Local residents, as well as some anarchists, were distributing soup, water and apples to prepare protesters for the long haul. However, at around 6pm, Police Scotland eventually capitulated, citing Covid safety, and released the two men to cheers of triumph and the waving of Palestinian and red flags.

Activists and residents shouted chants through the day of "Let them go", "These are our neighbours", "Cops go home" and "Refugees are welcome here". Speakers contrasted the response of their working-class community with the Tory Westminster government's 'hostile environment' policy.

The recent revelation, that it is very possible that neither men were breaking any kind of law - immigration or otherwise - just demonstrates how needless and soulless the policy is. It is nothing short of systematic intimidation of migrant workers, on no other basis than their being foreign workers.

Many of the speakers attempted to express an 'inclusive nationalism' and spoke about how this situation proved the need for an independent Scotland. The demand that the Scottish parliament either takes or is granted powers over immigration from the Home Office - with their standing orders from Westminster Tories - is very popular.

But policing is already a devolved power in Scotland, and plays a key role in immigration enforcement! Even in an independent Scotland - if it was still a capitalist state - repressive policing and laws would be used against the working class. That's why socialist policies, including democratic trade union and community control of the police, are essential.

The events in Pollokshields were an inspiring example of the power of working-class communities when they come together to defend their own. It points to the type of mass action that can achieve victories and cut across racism in society. We cannot let up in the fight to remove all racist immigration laws and practices. We must continue to fight for a socialist society to end such barbarism and guarantee a decent future for all.

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In The Socialist 19 May 2021:


Israel/Palestine

Build a mass movement to end Israeli state terror

Tens of thousands march against Israeli state terror


What we think

Johnson's Tories and Starmer's Labour have nothing to offer workers

Starmer moves against Unite - No to the attack on Beckett


Covid

What's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Capitalism responsible for stark global Covid vaccine inequality


Workplace news

NHS: Scottish vote shows unions must fight for 15%

Unison: Elect reps who will back strike action

PCS elections - incumbents win, but solid vote for Broad Left Network

DVLA workers suspend strike for talks

Huge victory at Go North West as Unite defeats 'fire and rehire'

London Metroline strike against 'remote sign-on' goes ahead

CWU members' resolve to strike still firm as union enters talks

Strikes round-up


Campaigns news

Glasgow mass action defeats Home Office deportation attempt

Students and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

Mulivaikkal Remembrance Day 2021

Socialist Party black and Asian members discuss history

Help fund our bold socialist presence

We will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

Brighton marches to defend Moulsecoomb Primary School


News

Spycops inquiry continues to expose historic attacks on democratic rights

New voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

News in brief


Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion


 

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Related links:

Glasgow:

triangleUsdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

triangleReinstate Richie Venton

triangleSupport Ikea workers - reinstate Richie Venton

triangleScotland and coronavirus - a catalogue of government failure

triangleMassive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

Deportation:

triangleAre Biden's immigration policies a break with Trump's?

triangleTamil Solidarity asylum victory

triangleTears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

triangleMass pressure wins light sentence for 'Stansted 15'

Immigration:

triangleProtest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

triangleNews in brief

triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

Scotland:

triangleThe 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in

triangleWhere now for the Scottish independence movement?

Police:

triangleBristol: Police to blame for protest violence

Article dated 19 May 2021

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