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Environmental justice campaigners block entrance to Home Office building in Glasgow

ENVIRONMENTAL justice campaigners blocked the entrance to the Home Office building in Glasgow today to demand the British government ends its hostile environment policy towards migrants. 

Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland and Glasgow Calls Out Polluters (COP) locked themselves to each other and to the property’s gates from about 7am on Monday.

The demonstrations were organised in response to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill passing through the House of Commons.

The Bill was introduced after 27 people lost their lives in November trying to cross the Channel — a journey that has resulted in 166 people being recorded as either dead or missing since 2014.

Ms Patel’s Bill — which cleared the Commons last week — seeks to curb these crossings and also change how asylum claims are processed.

A spokesperson for XR Scotland said: “The Nationality and Borders Bill must be stopped.

“It’s beyond cruel to criminalise people seeking asylum.

“It’s state-sanctioned murder to grant immunity to Border Force staff if refugees die after being pushed back into French waters.”

The demonstration follows a mass protest against the Bill on Sunday outside 10 Downing Street by several equalities organisations.

Photos of the scene in Glasgow on Monday show the protesters taking action in solidarity with those in London, with banners saying “Refugees Welcome,” “End the Hostile Environment” and “Climate Justice = Migrant Justice.”

A 67-year-old retired social worker taking part in the protest, who did not want to be named said: “The UK’s heartless hostile environment policy routinely denies migrants their human rights; preventing access to employment, healthcare, housing and other basic services.

“The hostile environment must end, there can be no climate justice without migrant justice.”

Ministers in Scotland and Wales jointly condemned measures in the British government’s Nationality and Borders Bill as “barbaric” last week, as well as warning that the legislation may need approval from the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff.

In response to the protest, a British government spokesperson said “safe and legal” routes are being established to Britain, adding: “People should not make life-threatening journeys to the UK and should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. 

“We are changing the law so those who facilitate dangerous crossings can face life behind bars.”

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