Detained men released from immigration van after mass protest in Glasgow
Police Scotland has released the two men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement following a mass protest.
Hundreds of people had gathered in Kenmure Street in Glasgow’s Southside after a Border Agency van appeared in the area on Thursday morning.
Police officers were called to the scene to manage the protest and had surrounded the vehicle.
In a statement release on Thursday evening, Police Scotland confirmed the decision to free the detainees.
It said: “In order to protect the safety, public health and health and wellbeing 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.”
The announcement was met be cheers at the protest and the public have been asked to disperse to allow for the release.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed Police Scotland’s decision but said he was “angry and disgusted” at the Home Office.
He tweeted: “While immigration is reserved matter, I am pleased Police Scotland have legitimately intervened, in interests of public health & safety, & those in Border Force custody will be released.
“Situation should never have occurred. 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, on a day the UK Government would have known Scottish Government & MSPs would be distracted by parliamentary process.”
He also confirmed he would engage with the Home Office and UK government ministers in the future to avoid the situation arising again.
The appearance of the van caused widespread condemnation by local politicians, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP MP Alison Thewliss.
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 offences 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."