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Glasgow - "The Worse Reid Gets, the Stronger we Become"

CH | 08.10.2006 12:27 | Transnational Day of Action Against Migration Controls | Anti-racism | Migration | Social Struggles

Several hundred people converged on Glasgow's George Square on Saturday for a march and Rally organised by Unity the Union of Asylum Seekers as part of the 3rd International Day of Action for Migrant Rights.

Marchers set off from points North, West and South of the city centre, numbering several hundred by the time they reached George Square. Asylum seekers were joined by people from across Glasgow and beyond who wanted to show their solidarity at the end of a particularly brutal week (even by Home Office standards).

Addressing the rally, Rosie Kane MSP called for Glaswegians to make the place a City of Compassion and Sanctuary. A common theme in the speeches was the need for solidarity between native-born Glaswegians and their (relatively) new neighbours. Graham Campbell of Solidarity called for people to support the work of the Unity Union of Asylum Seekers, organisers of the event. A speaker from the No Borders Network thanked asylum seekers for rekindling Glasgow's spirit of direct action in resistance to State persecution.

But as ever with these events, it was the refugees' and asylum seekers' voices that had the most vital contributions to make. Pastor Daly, no stranger to the inside of a detention centre, made a fiery speech that lost no power in its translation from French. We want to live, we want to work. This is not a speaker that any government would like to have opposing it.

Mama Henriette of Karibu African Women's Group reminded us of the government's role in creating refugees and its hypocrisy in dealing with them. "Asylum is a gambling game, all about numbers," and welfare is not on the agenda. Given that, we shouldn't talk about "failed" asylum seekers: people are Refused asylum by a system that isn't interested in fairness or justice.

The rally finished with a performance by local / international hip-hop crew Fugees United. A mixed group of fans danced and chanted "I don't give a damn what you call me." The energy and determination to resist government attacks on communities in Glasgow is there and here are talented people who want to contribute to this city they are making their home. John Reid would do well to note, "The Worse He Gets, the Stronger We Become"

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