The Home Office has deemed the actions of protesters in Edinburgh who attempted to block an immigration raid as “unacceptable”.
At around 7pm on Thursday, crowds converged on Nicholson Square in the Scottish capital after news of the Home Office operation spread on social media of immigration vans spotted earlier in the day.
The Home Office said Immigration Enforcement attended an address in Potterrow in a pre-planned and intelligence-led operation.
It said two people were found to be in breach of immigration laws and were placed on immigration bail.
When Home Office staff left the area a spokesperson for the protesters said the employees had “given a commitment to leave without the people they had detained inside”, hailing their efforts as a victory.
However, the Home Office has said “to suggest that protesters had an impact on the outcome is wrong”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is unacceptable for people to attempt to block legitimate actions of law enforcement as they work to remove those with no right to live or work in the UK.
“Through our Nationality and Borders Act we are taking steps to fix the broken system to make it fair to those in genuine need and firm on those who seek to abuse it. An operation was carried out in Edinburgh today and to suggest that protesters had an impact on the outcome is wrong.”
Onlookers said the scene in Edinburgh was similar to action that took place on Kenmure Street in Glasgow last year when hundreds of people surrounded an immigration removal van in a bid to stop the detention of two Indian nationals, Sumit Sehdev and Lakhvir Singh.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 6.45pm on Thursday, May 5, 2022, police were called to an address on Potterrow, Edinburgh following reports of a large protest outside a property.
“Officers attended at the location and the crowd dispersed around 10pm.
“As a rights-based organisation, Police Scotland puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do. This means that we will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest, balanced against the rights of the wider community.”