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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 September 2005, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Protest over refugee dawn raids
Vucaj family
Campaigners say the Vucaj family were treated unfairly
About 200 campaigners, including asylum seekers, have gathered at immigration offices in Glasgow to protest over the treatment of refugees in the city.

The Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said people were being removed from their homes in the early hours, and taken to England to be deported.

They said families should not be put through such traumatising ordeals.

The protest came days after a dawn raid on the Glasgow home of a failed asylum seeking Kosovan family.

Unsafe countries

The Vucaj family were arrested on Tuesday and taken to the Yarlswood Centre in Bedfordshire, where they have lodged a new asylum appeal.

The five members of the family, including three children, had lived in Scotland for five years.

The campaigners also claimed many refugees were being sent back to unsafe countries where they were liable to face prison, torture or even death.

They said the UK was sending two flights a week to Iraq with returned refugees, despite the worsening situation there.

Among those addressing the demonstration were Scottish Socialist MSP Rosie Kane and several young asylum seekers who expressed their fears about being removed.

Failed asylum seekers who have no right to remain in the country and who have not chosen to leave voluntarily will be removed
Home Office spokesman

Ms Kane said: "There were several school kids there from all different communities.

"They were there with placards they had made for their friends. They don't want to lose them.

"The asylum seeker kids are terrified that it will happen to them next."

The MSP described the protest as "uplifting" and "very determined".

She said: "It was something I've never seen before in all the years I've been campaigning about this.

"It seems to have seeped through society what is going on here. The communities are really staring this in the eye now. There is real heartbreak about this and real concern."

'Robust approach'

Margaret Woods, of organisers the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, said the speeches of the young asylum seekers had been "very moving".

She said: "One young lad said he wanted to be a doctor but didn't know if he would get the chance.

"Some of the girls said they couldn't concentrate on their schoolwork because of the worry."

The Home Office refuses to comment on individual cases but said that all asylum claims are given "full and careful" consideration.

A spokeswoman said: "Failed asylum seekers who have no right to remain in the country and who have not chosen to leave voluntarily will be removed.

"The government has made it clear it will take a robust approach to removing people from the country who have no legal right to be here.

"This is always done in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with courtesy and dignity."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the protest



SEE ALSO:
Call for outcry over asylum raid
13 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Scotland celebrates refugee week
20 Jun 05 |  Scotland


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