Activists from the environmental and social justice group Reclaim the Power are occupying the roofs of Immigration Enforcement vehicles and stopping them from leaving the Home Office building in Portishead. Around fifteen people dressed in pink overalls, holding placards saying “stop the raids” and “stop kidnapping our neighbours” are taking part.
The action, designed to prevent dawn immigration raids across the South West, is part of national day of protest against the institutional racism of the government’s Hostile Environment policy.
“The Home Office conducts raids from this building, with these vehicles, that tear people from their homes and communities brutally and barely legally,” said Griselda Dunbar from Reclaim the Power “Last year Mustafa Dawood, a young Sudanese man, died fleeing in fear from one of these vans. There has still been no inquiry into his death.”
Today’s action is part of an ongoing commitment by Reclaim the Power – a group best known for actions against the fracking industry – to confront rising xenophobia in UK policies.
“While our country wrestles with the Brexit identity crisis caused by our colonial past, people across the world continue to have their lives torn apart by the smash and grab approach of UK based companies and British foreign policy. When they come here fleeing war and climate chaos they are punished again by racist policies determined to turn these survivors into criminals. It’s perverse and horrific and has to stop,” Griselda Dunbar continued.
Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, recently warned that we risk full scale ‘climate apartheid‘ and that “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”
Alex Green from Reclaim the Power added:
“Migration is beautiful and enriches us all. We encourage everyone to report raids to each other when they happen and to act together to limit the damage they can cause, for example by contacting your local anti raids network and making sure everyone knows their rights. Last November’s resistance to a workplace raid in Easton, Bristol, brought the neighbourhood together in opposing the Home Office. These systems struggle to operate without community consent.”
The protest is ongoing.