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Anti-racist mass mobilisation blocks Edinburgh detention raid

This is a powerful example of how to defy the new Tory laws and confront state racism
Issue 2084
Protesters block a white Home Office van and prevent a detention raid in Edinburgh

Blocking the detention raid in Edinburgh on Thursday (Pic: Catriona MacDonald on Twitter)

Hundreds of anti-racists mobilised on Thursday evening in Edinburgh to stop a Home Office detention operation that could have led to deportations. 

Over 200 students and other activists gathered after officials launched a raid to grab two people in the city’s Nicolson Square. Protesters blocked Home Office vans with large bins as some clambered on top of the roof shouting, “No justice, no peace.”

They said they would allow immigration officers to leave if they did not take any detainees with them. Police then had to rescue the Home Office officials—who left with nobody detained. 

Keith, a socialist and Stand Up To Racism activist, told Socialist Worker from the scene, “People came together to say refugees and migrants are welcome, that they are part of our community, and we won’t let them be targeted. We are determined to stop deportations. 

“This is the way to confront new Tory laws. Defiance and mass mobilisation can defend people. There’s a great sense of jubilation that we have stood up to the authorities. We are not powerless.” 

Stand Up To Racism Scotland said, “We anti-racists are the majority. Priti Patel take note— wherever the Home Office goes, it will face resistance. These are our neighbours, let them go.”

The Edinburgh Anti-Raids group that called for the mass defiance said, “The Home Office staff left with no one detained, all that’s left is empty vans. Thank you everyone for helping this happen. It is a big, big win.”

This victory comes a year on from similar successful action in Kenmure Street, Glasgow, which stopped the deportation of Sumit Sehdev and Lakhvir Singh.

  • Join the vigil demanding justice for Sheku Bayoh at the start of the public inquiry, Tue 10 May, 9am, Festival Square, Edinburgh. Transport from Glasgow here

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