PRESS RELEASE: Free Robert! Emergency Demonstration Broken Up By Police

An emergency demonstration was held outside the home office in Brand Street at 4.30pm today, in response to the unjust detention of a close friend of The Unity Centre and a popular well-loved member of our community Robert “Babu” Makutsa.

Robert was kept in Brand Street after he went to sign, which he has been doing as per his bail conditions since he was released from detention earlier this year. He was then told he was going to be transferred to Dungavel Detention Centre.

Around twenty people had gathered on Brand Street to show their support. The group managed to intervene and prevent the friend being removed in a van from the Home Office. The van retreated back into the Home Office compound.

After this the demonstration was rapidly met by an intense and violent police presence!

Police Scotland had previously maintained in response to a freedom of information request that they did not routinely assist the Home Office in dawn raids. Yet tonight they seemed incredibly eager to assist the Home Office with a transfer, like he was a high security offender. And this is not the first time they have done so.

The cops waded in with over 15 officers and they were ready when the van tried to leave for a second time. People were pulled out of the road and the driver sped away.

After the van drove off people managed to run after it and cut it off again a few streets away. The van was successfully blocked one more time for a few minutes before the police caught up once again. This time the demonstration was met by even more intense police violence and the van managed to pull off once again. Again people tried to chase after it, but it had pulled into faster moving traffic putting pedestrians and road users at risk.

In this second interaction with the more violent police, a seventeen -year old girl was grabbed by a much bigger male officer and thrown to the ground. She was physically hurt and distressed by the event. Over the course of the demonstration multiple other people were violently pulled away by the police, including being pulled and restrained by hair and the back of their necks, pushed to the ground on numerous occasions. One individual at the demonstration was arrested whilst trying to support his friend. At this point it is still unclear what will happen to him.



For Robert who has been detained, he now potential faces removal to Kenya. Even though he had not been yet made aware that his latest Judicial Review had been refused. Please keep an eye on the Unity website for any action that can be taken to support his case.

Free Robert! Free our friend in police custody! Solidarity with all those detained by the UK Home Office!

Shut down Dungavel, no one is illegal.24nov