UofG staff spoke to members of the community to find out what drove the response that was applauded across the country.
The latest episode of the Recovering Community podcast released by the University of Glasgow School of Social and Political Science examines the Kenmure Street protests of 13 May 2021 against a Home Office dawn raid. Activists circled a police van holding two men for eight hours, with their actions resulting in the men being released back into their community.
Host Professor Anne Kerr spoke to University of Glasgow colleagues Dr Teresa Piacentini and Dr Cetta Mainwaring, Pinar Aksu from the Maryhill Integration Network, and Kenmure Street resident David Millar. Response from protesters was attributed to the effects of immigration policy becoming visible to the community for the first time. The men, considered potential criminals by the state, were neighbours to those living on the street. Ms Mainwaring explained the motivation to protest came from the belief that “if one of us isn’t safe, we all aren’t safe”.
A Home Office spokesperson referring to the protesters as a “mob” inspired Mr Millar and fellow Kenmure Street residents to start the “Not A Mob” community group. Tension between UK policy and Glasgow activism was discussed at length in the podcast. Ms Aksu warned against the conversation reverting to how immigration policy might be improved if Scotland was an independent country. Instead, she said, the focus should be “on what can be changed now”.
On the same day as the Kenmure Street protest, elsewhere in Glasgow, another man was detained by the Home Office. Homeless, the man did not have a community to fight for his release. Dr Piacentini viewed his isolation as being what government policy hopes to achieve. In the words of Ms Mainwaring: “Kenmure Street demonstrated just how powerful a community can be.”
The podcast can be listened to here.