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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Dawn raids demo targets ministers
Dawn raid protest
Campaigners want an end to dawn raids
Campaigners against the use of dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers have held a protest outside the first minister's official residence.

It coincided with the weekly cabinet meeting in Bute House, Edinburgh.

On Tuesday, three members of a Congolese family who had been removed from their Glasgow home were released.

The Scottish Executive has said it will urge the Home Office to take a sensible and pragmatic approach to failed asylum seeker cases involving children.

About 20 people including church ministers, schoolchildren and charities took part in the silent protest.

As well as condemning the use of dawn raids, the protesters want an amnesty for the 1,100 families who have been seeking asylum in Scotland since 2001.

The group were invited inside the building to speak with the Deputy Minister for Communities Des McNulty.

The current asylum policy doesn't help asylum seekers or Scotland
Robina Qureshi
Positive Action in Housing

Robina Qureshi, director of the anti-racism charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), said: "The current asylum policy doesn't help asylum seekers or Scotland."

"We have people here who are willing to stay, work and settle, yet they are being driven out by a xenophobic asylum policy that doesn't suit the economic or population needs of Scotland."

The Waku family from Congo, who have lived in Scotland for six years, were removed from their Glasgow home last Monday after the Home Office refused their asylum application.

They were taken to a holding centre in Scotland, before being taken to Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick.

Mother Onoya Waku and her three children Jean-Marc, 14, Grace, 12, and Genuine, four, are now back at their home in Cardonald.

Release secured

Their father Max, 44, remains at the Gatwick centre.

Solicitor Fraser Latta, who is representing the family, said he was hopeful Mr Waku's release would be secured at a hearing on Thursday.

A petition raised by Lourdes secondary school in Glasgow, where Grace is a pupil, gathered 500 letters of support and 1,500 signatures for the family.

The Home Office spokesman said: "We always endeavour to keep families together, but there are occasions when this is not possible.

He added: "Families who have had their asylum applications rejected and continue to remain in the UK are doing so illegally."

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