Submitted anonymously – 8th May 2017
Today a group of people on bicycles encircled and tailed an immigration arrest van through the streets of central London as it was on its way to carry out a raid.
This was done to alert people to the existence of these vans and their daily incursions into our neighbourhoods. It was also done to disrupt the smooth running of immigration enforcement; a machine that rounds people up, detains them indefinitely, and expels them from the country to face unknown dangers.
These raids are the point at which the whole immigration regime is at its weakest. Remember that in order to carry out raids they must come into our neighbourhoods, drive down our streets, and try to force their way into businesses and homes. It is also critical to intervene in these moments before someone is handcuffed and in the back of a van. Its also easier to stop a raid which would result in another immigration prisoner than it is to support the same person in detention or fight for their release through the courts.
Immigration officers will not carry out a raid when they know that people are following them. Previous cases have shown that even one person filming and confronting them is at times sufficient to make them give up and leave. They remember and fear a repeat of when they have been stopped by people in the communities they’ve invaded and needed rescuing from by the police.
This action is easy for many people to do. The vans are active around London at all times of day. If you see a snatch van, follow it, film the officers when they get out and show them and the people they are targeting that you won’t just let it happen in your community. You do not need to be many, and you’d be surprised at the number of friends you’ll make when people see immigration enforcement being resisted in the area.
Incidentally, showing how ubiquitous these raids are, another group reportedly confronted two Immigration Enforcement vans that they happened to spot driving down the streets in Whitechapel later the same afternoon. The officers responded aggressively, but this only attracted more attention to their presence and more support from local people for the group challenging the officers.
Direct action can stop these raids!
[Note that these vans, as well as the scumbags riding in them, are increasingly equipped with cameras]