City Strolls - events - meetings
Friday, October 27, 2006
Liam Byrne came to Glasgow yesterday and received a warm welcome. Kind of. (From noborders-Glasgow)
After a trip to the Parliament in Edinburgh, the Minister for Dawn Raids arrived at Glasgow City Chambers at 2:45. There was already a substantial crowd outside the front door when the two purple Merc people carriers pulled into the St. Vincent St entrance.
On arrival, our VIP was met with jeers and shouts of "No Dawn Raids" and "We belong to Glasgow," leaving him in no doubt as to his popularity amongst the victims of his government's vindictive policies. Whilst he was inside, people kept chanting and the crowd outside numbered around 70.
Around 3:30, the gates were opened and police forced a path through the crowd by shoving people. Some in the crowd complained about the rough treatment, one man was grabbed by the throat. The vans trundled off behind some cyclists enjoying the afternoon air.
Protesters followed the Minister to the Home Office at Brand St, where the police presence was heavier and more aggressive. About 100 protesters sang, danced and chanted whilst the Minister met with staff inside. The "reforms" he announced today are bound to have raised their flagging morale, given that they consist of carrying on with the "fast-track" system recently introduced to no acclaim.
An attempt by Police to cause a diversion to allow the Minister to sneak away in the opposite direction caused the situation to descend into a melee as police over-reacted when protesters ran into the road and blocked the first car in the convoy. Despite their best attempts, protestors succeeded in bringing the car to a halt.
One over-zealous policeman, officer G116, was seen to push people to the ground, knock an elderly African woman to the ground then stand on her and attempted to snatch cameras from witnesses to his behaviour, described as "out of control".
Unfortunately, one asylum seeker was arrested after an empty plastic bottle was apparently thrown at the car. During his arrest, as he was panicking, our friend G116 chose to put him in a choke hold despite the man already being restrained by 3 other officers.
After the confusion, an ambulance had to be called for the lady knocked to the ground by G116. She appeared to be suffering from a panic attack brought on by the over-the-top, heavy-handed policing.
The arrested man was taken to Helen Street police station; it's not yet clear whether he has been charged, released or held for court.
Despite the negative end to a day of determined protests, with Liam Byrne being dogged everywhere he went, today was overall a massive success showing the determination by asylum seekers and their Scottish friends and neighbours to resist the barbaric policies of the Home Office.