How people power on Glasgow's streets forced a Home Office immigration U-turn

At one point there were chants of Free Palestine and Free our neighbours

At one point there were chants of 'Free Palestine' and 'Free our neighbours'

Sumit Sehdev, a chef, and Lakhvir Singh, a mechanic, both in their 30s, have reportedly been in the United Kingdom for 10 years. This is also Nicola Sturgeon's constituency, and the Scottish first minister had pleaded directly with the UK Home Office to stand down.

Around 200 protesters were at the scene, with chants of "Leave our neighbours, let them go" and "Cops go home" being heard as a ring of police stood around the van.

Demonstrators in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, had blocked the immigration enforcement van for hours, with one lying underneath the vehicle.

The Independent has asked the Home Office to comment.

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It is understood neither of the men is Muslim. Eventually, police Scotland said it had to make an operational decision to protect the "safety, public health and well-being" and the two men were released on bail and returned home to their families.

"We are so grateful for the support". But it was the people here in Glasgow who decided their neighbours were not leaving today.

"They thought they were going to be taken to a detention centre, they dreaded the treatment they would receive and what would happen to them".

"It sets a benchmark quite high for the rest of the country to follow and say that this is the way that we should treat people in society".

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Protester Mohammad Asif, the director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, said the demonstration was a response to the "hostile environment" created by the British government.

Sophie, of No Evictions Network, who did not want to give her second name, told The Independent the two men from the same address had had no chance to eat, drink or use the toilet since being put in the van around 9.30am. "And they are about to be deported", he said. And it's on Eid you [.] the guys are not even allowed to pray.

Mr Asif, who left Afghanistan as a refugee in 2000, said the atmosphere among the protesters was peaceful. "This was a cynical and provocative action by the home office to do it on the day of Eid".

Hundreds of residents have surrounded a Border Agency van in Glasgow to try to prevent immigration officers from removing two neighbours.

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"The UK Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally".

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