Protests have been called following a raid on the cleaning staff at the School of Oriental and African Studies by 40-50 armored police from the Immigration and Border Agency. Nick Jones reports.
At 6.30am on Friday the 12th the company that sub-contracts SOAS’ cleaning staff called a meeting of the employees, having assembled in the main building the room was raided by armed officers and those present questioned, without recourse to a SOAS Unison representative or translator. The raid took place at the behest of the ISS, the company sub-contracted to provide cleaning staff, and was carried out with the prior knowledge of SOAS management who were present during.
Of those interrogated Unison notes that nine were arrested for allegedly working without proper documentation and have since been sent to detention centers. Early reports indicate that a woman six-month pregnant is among those detained, while three members of staff have reportedly been ‘fast track’ deported out of the UK already.
Around 100 students, allies and fellow SOAS staff gathered outside the main building at 8.30pm on Monday 15th June to protest, prior to a Unison emergency branch meeting. Following this protest students occupied the university building and have issued a series of demands to SOAS management, including the release of the remaining detainees.
Communist Students join those occupying the college in condemning the arrest and detention of all cleaning staff, who must be immediately released. We see this demand as irrevocably linked to the fight to abolish all borders and oppose all immigration controls. No one is illegal and we must fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrant workers.