jump to navigation

Protest against Dawn Raids & Child Detention 21/11/11

The Government didn’t stop dawn raids – we did!
And we’re going to have to do it again…
And make them keep to its promise to stop detaiing children.
On Monday the 21st November supporters of Unity and friends held a protest outside the UKBA Reporting Centre in Glasgow. We had hoped it would be a day-long protest and it was!
Early on Monday morning (about 6.30am) a group of around twenty people gathered outside the reporting centre at Festival Court on Brand Street. While some attached themselves to the gates of the centre using bicycle D-locks, others quickly erected a 15 foot high tripod in front of the vehicle access gates. It took only seconds to get the tripod up and then one volunteer climbed up it. He sat on the top between the three poles for about 11 hours, determined not to come down.
Not long after the protest started members of UKBA staff started to arrive at the reporting centre. Their arrival so early in the morning suggests that they were members of the UKBA enforcement team arriving to prepare to raid another family’s home. Our protest action stopped another dawn raid because it stopped the immigration officals being able to get their enforcement van out of the centre.
While security guards managed to stop us closing a small pedestrian entrance gate the vehicle access to and from the reporting centre was stopped for the day.
 At 9.30am the Strathclyde Police specialist climbing team arrvied and the street was closed off so they could bring in the equipment they needed to remove the protestor on the tripod.
Shortly after this a support march from NCADC and the Govan & Craigton Integration Network arrived from nearby Govan to join the growing protest. By lunchtime there were over 100 people filling the street with people present from the No Borders Network, Peace & Justice Scotland and the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, as well as asylum seekers, members of the public and, of course, us from STAR.
Throughout the day the good natured crowd chanted and sang protest songs from Africa and Scotland.
Although the police managed to remove and arrest the three people who had D-locked themselves by the neck to the gates of the reporting centre, they struggled to get our man down from the tripod. They put lots of time and effort into building (and taking down and rebuilding) a scaffolding tower but to no avail.
As a result all they could do was to try and persuade him to climb down by himself. By mid-afternoon they had brought in police negotiators to try and persuade him to come down voluntarily. At one point they were even using cigarettes to try and bribe him to come down!
It wasn’t until staff were starting to leave the UKBA for the day at 5pm that the intrepid climber gave himself up. He had been on the tripod for a staggering 11 hours, stopping all vehicles from getting in and out of the reporting centre. He was promptly arrested and taken to Helen Street Police Station in Govan.
All four people arrested were held for a short period of time and then released on a personal undertaking not to return to Brand Street. All four were out of the police station by 8pm and have been told to attend court on 22nd December. Unity will be organising court support for them.
You can see some press coverage here
http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/politics/protesters_stage_own_dawn_raid_on_border_police_headquarters_1_1978050
And a short video of the action by a local supporter here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl6hP7nNqfw
This campaign is definitely not over yet! For more information or to find out about other actions and events that are happening, get in touch either with us or with Unity. 
UNITY!

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: