In response to what they believe was an anti-immigrant sting, protestors in London released thousands of cockroaches, crickets, and locusts inside two of the city's restaurants over the weekend, reports the Washington Post. Members of left-wing groups London Black Revs and Malcolm X Movement targeted two Byron Proper Hamburgers locations after a number of the chain's employees were arrested and deported last month.
Members of the groups were upset that the chain appeared to have lured unsuspecting employees into a sting operation set up by the British Home Office, which enforces the country's immigration laws. The Guardian reports a mass email sent from the Byron corporate office suggested all employees needed to complete a workplace safety course on July 4. Instead, those who showed up were met by Home Office officials. Thirty-five employees were arrested, and 25 "have now left the U.K., either voluntarily departed or been removed," according to the Guardian.
The Home Office reportedly informed Byron it was employing a number of undocumented immigrants, and the company says "it is our legal obligation" to cooperate with authorities. But, in a statement posted on Facebook, members of the protest groups called the sting "despicable" and an example of "growing racist and even fascist-oriented policies" in Britain.
We apologise to customers and staff for any irritation, however, with the growing climate of racism and xenophobia, a line must be drawn and we say, enough is enough. No one is illegal. We've acted today in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are being deported daily. If you stand in solidarity against the underhand entrapment of its workers that Byron has carried out. You should support the actions in defence of migrant workers and refugees.
The Washington Post notes some see the sting as necessary enforcement of British immigration policy. Others, however, fear it's an example of post-Brexit racism and xenophobia. Considering 28 percent of Britain's pre-Brexit restaurant workers were born outside the country, more disruption in the industry may be on the horizon.
Migrants are cockroaches? Migrants are rodents? Migrants are a swarm? These guys don't know the meaning of the word! Check out this militant direct action by London Black Revs and Malcom X Movement here in London taking on Byron and other corps that entrap innocent souls into deportation! They just releases thousands of roaches in two Byron restaurants in London, shutting them down for weeks! #migration #humansarenotillegal #refugeeswelcome #boycottbyron #chakabars #blacklivesmatter #refugeecrisis #london #peoplebeforeprofit #powertothepeople #antiimperialism #blm #malcolmx
• London restaurant stages immigration sting. Gets carpet-bombed with locusts, crickets, cockroaches. [WP]
• Most of those arrested at Byron burger chain have been removed from UK [Guardian]