A man in Glasgow, Scotland, laid under a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for eight hours in an attempt to stop police officers operating the van from successfully conducting an immigration raid, as reported by The Guardian. He succeeded in stopping the police, proving that a man can sometimes win against machine.
The machine here not just being the Sprinter, but also the State, which has lately conducted what The Guardian refers to as “dawn raids” as its anti-immigrant actions ramp up. This practice is widely condemned in Glasgow, which is “the only dispersal city for asylum seekers in Scotland.” Glasgow’s residents are now pushing back.
The raid was impeded by a large crowd this time, as The Guardian describes:
Staff from Immigration Enforcement are believed to have swooped on a property in Pollokshields early on Thursday morning and detained people.
By mid-morning, a crowd of about 200 protesters surrounded the vehicle, preventing it from driving away, and chanting “these are our neighbours, let them go”, with one protester lying under the van to prevent it driving off.
One of the protestors decided the best way to fight back was to lay down and stop the Sprinter from driving away, placing himself beneath the van’s chassis:
He was hardly alone; the crowd also surrounding the Sprinter. All those people came out in solidarity, and to express their disagreement with these raids, which have already happened twice in this month alone. If they keep happening, immigrant and refugee advocates warn that the protests will, too:
...Pinar Aksu, of Maryhill Integration Network said: “They messed with the wrong city.
“This is a revolution of people coming together in solidarity for those who others have turned away from,” she said. Aksu described how hundreds more supporters had arrived at the scene as the afternoon progressed. “This is just the start. When there is another dawn raid in Glasgow, the same thing will happen.”
The man and a number of protesters were taken into custody after the event, but were released shortly afterwards, per The Guardian:
Shortly after 5pm, Police Scotland released an updated statement, saying that Supt Mark Sutherland had decided to release the detained men “in order to protect the safety, public health and wellbeing of those involved in the detention and subsequent protest”. The force asked those at the scene to disperse from the area as soon as possible.
As an American reading about all this, and as someone who lives in a border city, this is all too familiar.
It’s quite moving to see how the residents of Glasgow are responding to these unwelcome actions. The Scottish Refugee Council elaborated on the response of those in the community and repeated that they will not take this lying down, unless it’s in front of a police vehicle:
Regardless of the immigration status of those targeted today, this heavy-handed approach from the Home Office is unnecessary and avoidable. It is frightening, intimidating and disproportionate. The hundreds of people on the streets this morning in solidarity with those affected shows people in Scotland are sick of these raids and have had enough.
I would be nervous to see the outcome of such a standoff in the U.S. because I don’t think it would end like this, but rather with a lot more protestors hurt and a lot more reckless police who will never be held accountable for their actions.