#NotAMob: Kenmure Street residents call on Home Secretary Priti Patel to visit local community
Residents of Kenmure Street in Pollokshields have called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to visit the area three months on from a high-profile immigration raid.
Hundreds of local residents blocked the removal of Indian nationals Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev on 13 May following their detention by the Home Office.
Local resident David Millar helped establish the #NotAMob community group to campaign on issues raised by the raid.
He said: “After three months, there has been no meaningful response from the Home Secretary. We are appalled by the lack of engagement with our community on issues of public safety and the right to peaceful protest, as well as the broader issues of immigration policy.
“We now challenge the Home Secretary to visit our community and meet residents, members of local organisations and elected representatives and respond to the many concerns that have been raised by the Home Office’s enforcement action.”
The eight-hour standoff between police and protesters ended with the release of the two men, who had been detained on "suspected immigration offences," according to the Home Office.
It also said the operation had been pre-planned and detention officers followed the relevant public health guidance in relation to coronavirus at all times.
Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for the Home Office 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."
However, there was anger in the local community when it was reported that sources had referred to local residents as "a mob".
Millar added: “If the Home Secretary does not respond positively, we may have to use the opportunity of the COP26 Climate Change Conference – taking place 1.5 miles from the site of the Kenmure Street protest – to raise these issues more directly. We know that many, many of our fellow citizens are keen to make their views known.
“We ask that the Home Secretary releases a statement addressing our key concerns and announcing her intention to engage with our community and key stakeholders.”
“We are not a mob – just a community.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We engaged extensively with the Scottish Government during the incident, including a ministerial call with the First Minister and also via senior officials.
“The public expects us to remove those with no right to remain who do not leave voluntarily, and our new plan for immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”