Yesterday, the people of Glasgow made a tremendous show of solidarity with their neighbours.

The number of people on the streets cheering the release of the two individuals detained by the Home Office was truly moving. Glasgow showed the Home Office that they messed with the wrong city.

My colleagues and I were shaken and angry to see the heavy handed and inhumane enforcement tactics from the Home Office in Pollokshields yesterday. Home Office enforced removals are not pretty. They are intimidating, disorientating and utterly disempowering for the individuals affected.

As the families of Kenmure Street were trying to honour the first day of Eid in peace, Home Office Immigration Enforcement Officers conducted an aggressive and intrusive raid. To behave in this cruel way on this special day for so many people shows – at best – a serious lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness from the Home Office.

But as brutal and shocking as these Home Office tactics were, the cries of “these are our neighbours” from the crowds spoke even louder. The Home Office picked the wrong city, the wrong day and the wrong constituency to try and implement its disgraceful hostile environment. In the city of the Glasgow Girls, Mary Barbour and Nae Pasaran, there is absolutely no consent for immigration enforcement raids.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says Home Office must ask itself 'hard questions' over Kenmure Street raid

The sheer numbers of people who gathered in solidarity with those affected by Home Office activity shows people in Scotland have had enough. These cruel and brutal tactics are not done in our name.

While we must celebrate the remarkable showing of solidarity from the community, the fight against the practice of raids, and other inhumane and cruel Home Office policies, continues. As people made loud and clear yesterday, these policies are not welcome in Glasgow, and have absolutely no consent from the communities who make our city what it is.

The concern raised and shown by the constituency’s MSP Nicola Sturgeon and MP Alison Thewliss is welcome. This concern and solidarity must be mobilised to ensure that we do all we can in Scotland through our devolved competencies to stand against the hostile environment.


As we expected, the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration was introduced in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. This disgraceful plan proposes to create a two-tier system of refugee protection, discriminating against the majority for whom arriving in the UK through a ‘safe and legal’ route is not possible.

The UNHCR has warned that these plans threaten to breach international law. Put plainly, the New Plan is the biggest threat to refugee rights in the UK for decades. We must fight back against these appalling and baseless policies.

We, along with over 100 organisations, are a member of a new coalition Together With Refugees. Together With Refugees aims to stand united in support for people seeking protection, and to campaign for a fairer and more effective UK asylum system.

More than anything, the events of yesterday demonstrated the potential for change if we work together. We must take yesterday’s energy forwards to continue to stand up for mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours who are rebuilding their lives in Scotland.

Sabir Zazai is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council.