Bristol’s home of in-depth journalism
Powered by 2,000+ members
The Bristol Cable

The blockade of the raid made national news as a show of dissent to the ‘hostile environment’ immigration regime.

Photo: Thomas Katan

The man at the centre of the immigration raid that was blockaded for seven hours by 100 protestors in Easton on Thursday 25th has been released after “further checks” by the Home Office, the Cable can reveal.

Following the raid and the resistance to it, the Home Office initially stated that Javid Iqbal, a 49-year-old man from Pakistan was being held in detention pending removal from the UK due to staying beyond his visa time limit.

However, Akhtar Saleem, the shopkeeper of the Mini Market on Chelsea Road where the raid took place told the Cable that Mr Iqbal was in fact released on Saturday morning.

The Home Office have confirmed that Mr Iqbal had overstayed his visa, which was the reason for the nighttime raid on the shop. However, a Home Office spokesperson said that he had now been released as “further checks identified that there wasn’t a realistic prospect of removal from the UK within a reasonable timescale”. The spokesperson did not comment on why these checks were not conducted before the operation.

You buy in

So we can't sell out

Become a member

Join the Cable

While this may come as relief to those in the community who know Mr Iqbal, it calls into question the heavy-handed, and expensive, Home Office tactics and the earlier insistence that the raid was ‘intelligence led’.

Labour councillor for Easton Afzal Shah was there on the night. Responding to news of Mr Iqbal’s release Mr Shah said

“These methods are divisive, and a waste of resources. The tense stand-off, which lasted nearly seven hours, could have easily turned into unrest. There are serious concerns about the heavy handed approach taken by Immigration Enforcement, which are often fishing expeditions. In Mr Iqbal’s case a simple conversation and a few checks would have sufficed.”

As reported from the scene by the Cable, the raid provoked a non-violent mass blockade by protestors, chanting “Immigration is not a crime” and “deport Theresa May”.

As Mr Iqbal was detained in a van, a protestor clambered onto the roof to prevent it leaving. After a seven hour blockade he was eventually bundled away in a another vehicle at 4.30am under the cover of a heavy police presence.

“It’s terrible the way they have treated him. And for what?” said Mr Saleem. Mr Iqbal is understood to be consulting with his solicitor and recovering after the harrowing ordeal. He will have to present himself weekly to a Home Office official at Patchway police station pending a resolution to his case.

Tell your friends...

The blockade of the raid made national news as as a spontaneous show of dissent to Theresa May’s so-called ‘hostile environment’ of harsh immigration enforcement.

The approach introduced when May was Home Secretary has been blamed for the Windrush scandal that saw decades-long UK residents stripped of rights and even deported, and inhumane practises at detention facilities, among other alleged violations of human rights.

Support the journalism Bristol needs.

Thanks to the 2,000+ members who support the Cable, our in-depth journalism is free for everyone. Together, we empower readers with independent and investigative local reporting. Join us and be a part of Bristol’s reader-owned media cooperative.

Join the Cable


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reports Bristol And Beyond Ideas And Action

A morning with activists taking direct action against immigration enforcement

Removing Rough Sleepers Reports

Bristol will not be joining 11 councils refusing to co-operate on plans to deport rough sleepers

Ideas And Action Reports

Ken Macharia not detained after asylum refusal

Investigations Banner Home Page

Revealed: Evidence of racial profiling of thousands of British citizens by Home Office

Bristol And Beyond

Every week in Patchway, dozens of people face the long arm of the hostile environment

Interviews Bristol And Beyond

Interview: Kingswood man facing controversial deportation

In Bristol

The essential round-up

Sent to your inbox every Friday