Saturday , 18 January 2020

Violence used in arrest of LGBT asylum seeker

Police have been accused of using “unprecedented” violence to break up a peaceful protest. (Photo: Unity Centre)


It has been alleged that police officers have used violence in order to arrest an LGBT asylum seeker yesterday.

30 police officers with dogs were also later used to break up a blockade in Glasgow to enable the removal from Scotland of an LGBT asylum seeker and her teenage son.

Dogs were deployed against a peaceful protest in a move the protestors described as “extremely violent” and “unprecedented”.

Refugee rights campaigners blocked the entrance to the Border and Immigration Agency in Brand Street, Glasgow, for approximately four hours yesterday after discovering that LGBT activist and asylum seeker Beverly Vaanda Kanjii, 45, and her 14 year old son had been arrested in a dawn raid at ther Bridgeton home earlier in the day. Protestors had superglued their hands together, something the police were made aware of when they arrived.

In a break with normal practice, the police refused to wait for a specialist team, instead choosing to pull glued together protestors apart, risking injury to the demonstrators. Phoebe Amis, 26, from Glasgow, was one of the protestors and she confirmed the police had been informed that they were superglued together.

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “I informed the police officer that I was eight and a half months pregnant, and he continued to push me in the small of my back. He said that he’d heard me and that he was aware that I was pregnant. But he just kept pushing me.”

In spite of the alleged police brutality, protesters continued to shout “Beverly, we’re here for you”.

Beverly Vaanda Kanjii alleges she was assaulted by UK security officials during her arrest. She says that officers pinned her to the floor and hit her. Police later admitted her ankle had been broken.

Beverly is originally from Namibia and has been living in Scotland for three years, where she lives with her Scottish partner. She is an active member of the LGBT Unity group, which campaigns on behalf of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow. She says she was persecuted in Namibia because of her sexuality, and faced physical violence and forced marriage there. However, the Home Office believes she will be safe if she returns to a different part of Namibia.

Frida Grey, an LGBT Unity member, said: “Bev came to Glasgow because she was being persecuted in Namibia. She came here seeking asylum and refuge, and what she received was violence and barbarity from the Home Office and the police. I am ashamed of Scotland right now. All I want is for Bev and all those seeking asylum to be returned to us and to live without fear in the communities in which they belong.”

Inspector Rogers, who is based at Helen Street Police Station, told protestors that Beverly Kanjii and her son would be removed to one of the UK’s privately run immigration detention centres to await deportation.

Kanjii and her son are currently being held at Cedars – a detention centre for families described as “pre-departure accommodation” run by G4S and Barnardos.

About Kevin Crowe

Kevin Crowe
Kevin and his husband Simon live in the Highlands where they ran, before retiring, a bookshop, art gallery and restaurant. Kevin previously worked with young homeless people and an HIV/Aids worker. He describes himself as a Socialist, is out within the Roman Catholic Church and has over the years been involved in various voluntary activities, including LGBTIQ groups. Until recently he was a committee member of Highland LGBT Forum and a tutor on the Inverness based Pink Castle Philosophy Club, and is currently convenor of the Highland LGBT Writers Group. Since the late 1960s his poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous magazines, web site and anthologies.

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