Extinction Rebellion block entrance to Glasgow Home Office over Borders Bill anger

20 December 2021, 11:30 | Updated: 20 December 2021, 11:35

Extinction Rebellion protestors have blocked the entrance to the Scottish Home Office
Extinction Rebellion protestors have blocked the entrance to the Scottish Home Office. Picture: @ScotlandXr

By Megan Hinton

Extinction Rebellion Scotland have blocked the entrance to the Home Office building in Glasgow, in protest over the Government's "hostile" migrant policy.

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Four activists have blocked access to the Home Office building by locking themselves to each other and the gates, in response to Priti Patel’s flagship Nationality and Borders Bill.

Banners held by protestors read 'Refugees Welcome', 'End the Hostile Environment' and 'Climate Justice = Migrant Justice'.

The bill, opposed by human rights groups, has previously come under fire by the Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison and her Welsh counterpart Jane Hutt who wrote a joint letter to Priti Patel to demand the UK reconsiders its "hostile environment strategy" and develops "sufficient safe and legal routes" for asylum seekers.

The bill passed through parliament just a fortnight after 27 refugees lost their lives while attempting to cross the English Channel, in the deadliest crossing on record.

Extinction Rebellion member, Stuart, a 23 year-old support worker, said: "The UK Government are complicit in murder for passing a bill that Parliament’s own human rights committee has ruled is incompatible with international law and would endanger more refugee lives at sea.

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"Rather than accept its responsibility in displacing communities through violent, neocolonial policies abroad, the UK continues to uphold similarly violent and racist border policies at home.

"In Glasgow we’ve already seen deaths of refugees kept in hotel detention and raids on people’s homes in our communities, but we’ve also witnessed the power of resistance when citizens refuse to step aside so we’re here to play our part today."

The activists want to highlight "how the UK has contributed to the forced displacement of millions of people".

The Nationality and Borders Bill - which cleared the Commons last Monday - seeks to curb these crossings and also change how asylum claims are processed.

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Another XR protester, Shane, a 67-year-old retired social worker, added: "The UK’s heartless hostile environment policy routinely denies migrants their human rights, preventing access to employment, healthcare, housing and other basic services.

"The world’s richest 10% are responsible for half of global emissions compared with the poorest half emitting only 10%, yet it will be the communities least responsible that are forced to flee their homes on a scale never seen before as the climate crisis escalates.

"The hostile environment must end, there can be no climate justice without migrant justice."