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Chinatown to shut down for five hours during immigration raid protest

23 July 2018 by
Chinatown to shut down for five hours during immigration raid protest

Businesses in London's Chinatown are set to stage a five-hour walk out tomorrow (Tuesday) to protest outside the Home Office following what campaigners have called a show of "unreasonable aggression" from immigration services and police.

The London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) allege immigration officials have attempted to "fish" for illegal immigrants, claiming the Home Office employees are arriving regularly without warrants.

It has been claimed that on 5 July, staff members at one restaurant were "treated with unreasonable aggression and handcuffed", while "a deaf and mute woman who started a peaceful protest by lying on the road was manhandled and nearly run over by an immigration van".

They added: "Finally, after two hours, the protesting woman was taken to the hospital and the area was declared a crime scene, partly to disperse members of the public who began to complain about the behaviour of police and immigration officers."

The protest, which will see the Soho-bordering street cease all operations, is planned to begin at midday - when a series of whistles will signal the beginning of the direct action.

From there, business owners and restaurant staff will march to the Home Office to demonstrate. Normal business is planned to resume at 5pm.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "During an intelligence-led immigration enforcement operation at Joy Luck restaurant at 5pm on 5 July, five men who had no right to live or work in the UK were arrested, including the subject of the intelligence.

"Four men had overstayed their visas and one had entered the UK illegally.

"The protest which followed saw attempts to prevent immigration enforcement officers from leaving the area with the arrested men.

"No members of the public were harmed during the incident. An immigration officer was found to have a fractured ankle during a hospital check-up in the week following the protest.

"While we respect the public's right to protest, it is important that any demonstrations do not obstruct our officers from carrying out their lawful business."

A spokesperson for Scotland Yard confirmed officers attended the scene, adding that they had not received any formal complaints regarding the incident.

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