After a lull of many weeks the Glasgow Immigration Enforcement Team resumed its brutal practise of raiding people’s homes in the early hours of the morning.
At seven o'clock on Sunday 26th November, in the Plean Street tower block complex on the west of Glasgow, ten immigration 'enforcers' and Strathclyde Police officers tried to smash open the door of a single mother from Uganda and her three year old twins.
Fortunately Mary was not in the flat when they eventually managed to break the door open. The police then tried to force her Scottish neighbours, living next-door, to let them in to their flat so they could search for her and her terrorised children. Despite being threatened through the letter-box and their door being repeatedly thumped by the insistent police, Mary's neighbours bravely, and rightly, refused to let the dawn raid team in.
Whilst this was happening on the twelfth floor, neighbours, friends and supporters from the nearby, ever-vigilant, Kingsway flats arrived outside the tower block but were stopped from entering by an over-zealous concierge as he claimed they would "disturb people living in the flats" (unlike the thugs wearing black, in body armour and trying to break someone's door open, of course.)
As the crowd outside grew to about twenty people, the police abandoned their attempts to take Mary and her children and departed in the dawn raid van, leaving only a sergeant from Strathclyde Police and an immigration official clad in a blue, to wait for the flat's front door to be sealed by a council carpenter.
Soon after people from Unity and from other parts of Glasgow, including people from Red Road, started to arrive as well and managed to get the door open to allow them into the tower block. Thirty people, some in pyjamas and with small children and including a well-known church minister, then peacefully gathered on the landing outside Mary's flat.
Eventually the police left with their tails between their legs and Mary and her two small children were safe.
Some now suspect that the timing of this dawn raid was simply a cynical political stunt by the Home Office as it happened only hours before Home Secretary John Reid made a speech at the Scottish Labour Party conference warning an independent Scotland would be vulnerable to a 'flood of illegal immigrants'. Mary had only been to report with her children at the Home Office in Brand Street (where she could have been easily detained without brutally breaking down her door) on the Friday afternoon.
However Mary's courage, the bravery of her neighbours and the quick response by local people and supporters stopped this dawn raid
Working together we can stop dawn raids.
We can make Glasgow a city of sanctuary.