Kenmure Street: Man detained by Home Office thanks people of Glasgow after being released

A man detained by Home Office immigration officials has thanked the people of Glasgow after he was released, saying he is “astonished and overwhelmed” by their support.

Lakhvir Singh, 34, from India, was held in the back of an immigration enforcement van in Kenmure Street, Pollockshields, with another man for several hours, while protesters blocked its path – with one lying underneath the vehicle.

Police Scotland officers were called to form a ring around the van, as the demonstrators’ ranks swelled to over 200, with chants of “Leave our neighbours, let them go” and “Cops go home” being sung.

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The attempted deportation was widely condemned on social media, with political leaders, including the First Minister, calling on the Home Office to abandon it.

Shortly after 5pm, Police Scotland appeared to bow to public pressure, issuing a statement confirming that it had ordered the release of both men.

A Police Scotland statement said Superintendent 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”.

Speaking via a translator after he was freed from the van, Mr Singh said: “I’ve been astonished and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the people of Glasgow.

“At around 9.30am immigration enforcement carried out a raid and we were taken to security in the van.

One of two men are released from the back of an Immigration Enforcement van accompanied by Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, in Kenmure Street, Glasgow which is surrounded by protesters. Picture date: Thursday May 13, 2021.

“There were only five or six people at the time but word spread and then there were crowds of hundreds.

He added: “We are so grateful for the support.”

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