On Saturday 16th April, Glasgow came together at George Square to say NO to offshore detention in Rwanda and NO to the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Our community has been reeling since last week’s news that the UK Government plans to outsource their asylum system to Rwanda, which is a clear breach of international law.

Saddened and stunned, we gathered once more at George Square to protest this latest horror. Impassioned words rang out over George Square from a number of speakers, including our Chief Executive Sabir Zazai, our Ambassador Alison Phipps, and Maryhill Integration Network‘s Pinar Aksu.

Last week also saw an unexpected report into the Park Inn incident being released, bringing back difficult memories of that traumatic day in summer 2020. Survivors of the incident were among the crowd at the protest on Saturday, still fighting for justice.

Despite the wounds that the Rwanda news is opening up, the demonstration on Saturday was a powerful reminder of the importance of our community coming together to share in our collective rage and grief. Ideas can be shared, wisdom can be imparted, rage and solidarity can be turned into action. At a time when the UK Government are curbing protest rights for our neighbours down south, the value of coming together at protests must not be forgotten.

This week, the relentless tirade against refugee rights by this government will continue, with the Nationality and Borders Bill back in parliament. The UK cannot claim to stand with Ukraine at the same time as it rolls out state sanctioned violence against people who are looking to find safety and rebuild their lives.

Glasgow and Scotland must be a powerful voice against this regime. As Sabir said, “This is the city that said no to dawn raids. This is the city of Kenmure Street. This is the city that says these are our neighbours, let them go. These are our neighbours, set them free.”

We thank the tireless Pinar Aksu for organising this protest, and everyone who took time out of their Easter weekend to join us in saying loud and clear that REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE.


Photo credit: Maryhill Integration Network.

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah