A huge crowd forced immigration officials to release two men detained in a van in Glasgow

·3 min read
Crowds in Glasgow cheer after two men are released from an immigration enforcement van, Thursday 13 May.
Crowds in Glasgow cheer after two men are released from an immigration enforcement van, Thursday 13 May. David Fennessy / Twitter: @DaveF_composer
  • Footage shows the moment two men detained by immigration officials in Scotland were released from a van.

  • It followed a seven-hour standoff between protestors and police.

  • A large crowd had surrounded the van in which they were detained on a residential street in Glasgow, shouting "Cops go home."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Extraordinary video footage shows the moment a Glasgow crowd celebrated as two men detained by immigration officials were released from a van following a seven-hour standoff between protestors and police.

Officials released the men after a large crowd surrounded the van in which they were detained on a residential street in Glasgow, shouting "these are our neighbours, let them go" and "cops go home" as police formed a ring around the van, which was due to take both men to an immigration center.

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One protestor lay directly under the van for at least 7 hours, preventing it from moving, Sky News reported.

After a tense stand-off that lasted throughout the morning and afternoon, Police Scotland released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying the men would be released. The Home Office had faced particular criticism for detaining the men on the Muslim holiday of Eid.

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"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," a statement from Police Scotland said.

UK Immigration Enforcement officials had reportedly raided a Glasgow property on Thursday morning and detained the two men, Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdevi.

The decision to release the protestors followed intense criticism from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who had stated publicly that she was "deeply concerned" by the Home Office's action. Sturgeon represents Glasgow Southside as a member of the Scottish parliament.

After both men were released, Sturgeon tweeted: "The Home Office needs to ask itself hard questions after today. Doing this on Eid, in the heart of our Muslim community, and in the midst of a serious Covid outbreak was staggeringly irresponsible - but the even deeper problem is an appalling asylum & immigration policy," she said.

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Both men went to a local mosque when they were released where they met with family and friends, the Daily Record reported.

Speaking in Punjabi after he was released, Lakhvir Singh told ITV News: "I'm so happy that my fate brought me to live here in Glasgow, where the people are so connected that they'll come out onto the streets to help one of their own."

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Both men went to a local mosque when they were released where they met with family and friends, the Daily Record reported.

A Home office source told the BBC: "It is completely unacceptable for a mob to stop the lawful removal of people living in our country illegally. We 100% back the frontline in removing those with no right to be here."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK Government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people by removing those with no right to be in the UK."

"The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offenses and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times

"The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally."

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