Thursday’s protest on Chelsea Road


A wee update and bit of info on the spontaneous protest on Chelsea Road on Thursday at which a fair few of us were repping (props to Bobby for the alert).

For anyone who doesn’t know – about 20-30 officers (very indelicately) raided the mini-mart at about 11pm, traumatising the owner Akhtar and his 5-year old son and dragging a guy who had been staying with them out by the wrists. Neighbours quickly parked cars to stop the van taking him away and Easton mobilised to block both ends of the road, at which point the cop cars and vans arrived. The cops reckon there was 100 protesters but I reckon it was more like 200 and the shop owner thinks more like 300. We represented in true Easton style with nuff bants and respect without backing down. It all ended at about 4:30am after the local Imam and councillor Afzal Shah sorted a solicitor for the guy and said they would coordinate support for him. No one was arrested and the guy was taken to a detention centre.

The Post gives Akhtar’s account of the night and the Cable give a bit of background on the government’s ‘hostile environment’, including the fact that there is no limit to how long someone can be kept at a (for-profit!) detention centre.

Also check out Opening Bristol’s Borders, who aim to “explore ways to challenge immigration enforcement and strengthen collective resistance in Bristol” (see flyer and info below).

A few of us will be popping down the mini mart to offer our support to Akhtar and see if there’s any more we can do. Will keep you posted.

Leaflet distributed during the protest


Opening Bristol’s Borders : A series of events to challenge immigration enforcement and strengthen collective resistance in Bristol.

An upcoming series of events in November 2018

Bristol is often portrayed as a city which welcomes everyone, a city of sanctuary, a home for migrating communities. Whilst there are many examples of solidarity – people challenging racism and building communities – the border remains a hostile force within the city.
People are billed for maternity care they can’t afford, detained from Patchway police station when attending mandatory appointments, moved from tents in Castle park, incarcerated in Bristol Prison, denied hospital treatment at BRI and refused private and social housing – all because they don’t hold the right papers.
Businesses and homes are raided by Immigration Enforcement based in Portishead. Private companies located in Bristol, such as G4S and Mitie, make profit from both the transfer and detention of people after these raids.
In addition to this, in 2017 Bristol City Council applied for and received extra funds from the Home Offices’s Controlling Migration Fund for enforcement activities – with £180,000 aimed at targeting, detaining and removing homeless EEA nationals, and £321,750 at investigating ‘rogue’ landlords and migrant tenants, in cooperation with the police and immigration enforcement units.
Since April 2018, patients have been forced to show status documents to prove they are eligible for NHS treatment that is not deemed “immediately necessary”, or pay upfront. People who receive emergency treatment are often billed.
Opening Bristol’s Borders is an opportunity to come together, discuss and challenge this hostile regime. During November and December we invite individuals and groups to participate in and contribute to a series of events around the city.



  1. Akhtar at the mini mart has now been threatened with a £20,000 fine for employing an illegal worker, which he denies doing. I spoke to Akhtar to see if there’s anything we can do to help and he suggested coming along to ‘Opening Bristols Borders’ workshop at the Assisi Centre on 14th Nov where he’s going to talk about his experience.

  2. Update: Javid has now been released after “further checks were carried out”. So that was a totally avoidable infliction of trauma on him as well as Akhtar and his kiddie plus a total waste of resources.

    Hopefully protests like this will make the home office rethink how they conduct their business! We will not stand for hostile actions in our community.

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