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Campaigners praise protesters for foiling the removal of Glasgow asylum-seekers

Legal experts call on First Minister to end co-operation and data sharing between Police Scotland and the Home Office

CAMPAIGNERS have praised the foiled removal of two Glasgow asylum-seekers as a show of people power, with the men saved from detention thanking those who forced goverment officers to withdraw.

Hundreds of protesters rejoiced in Glasgow on Thursday evening as two men, Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdevi, were freed after a day-long battle between campaigners and law enforcement. 

Significant community support forced police to release the pair — both Indian nationals who have lived in Glasgow for a decade — back into the community. 

Mr 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.”

Along with the overwhelming pressure from neighbours and members of the community, work by human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, politicians and activists helped secure the men’s release.  

Mr Anwar hit out at the police’s handling of the protest as “a step too far,” while leading campaigner Mohammad Asif said the Home Office “shouldn’t act like the mafia.”

He said: “The actions of the Home Office were cynical and provocative in trying to snatch these men from their community. 

“In the end the power of a local community, united in resistance, prevailed and the two men were freed.”

The Morning Star understands a number of calls from senior ministers in Holyrood to the Home Office were “rubber-eared.”

Following Thursday’s protest, legal experts in Scotland have now written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for an end to any co-operation and data sharing between Police Scotland and the Home Office unless it is a “legitimate matter of public safety.” 

Representatives from JustRight Scotland have said now is the time to formally mitigate the immoral and harmful practices of the immigration enforcement agency and the return of dawn raids. 

JustRight Scotland director Jen Ang said: “Scotland must use every and any legal tool within the devolved settlement to stand up to these dangerous and inhumane practices.”

Following hours of silence from the Home Office, a spokeswoman said after the protest had ended the operation had been “conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences.”

Police Scotland told the Star their officers do not assist in the removal of asylum-seekers, claiming officers were at the scene to “police the protest and to ensure public safety.”

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