London: ‘Thousands’ of locusts and cockroaches were unleashed at two Byron burger restaurants in London in protest against immigration raids. Activists from London Black Revs and the Malcolm X Movement shut down Byron venues on Shaftesbury Avenue and one in Holborn by releasing cockroaches, locusts and crickets into the restaurants.
Byron has been condemned on social media after reportedly collaborating with the Home Office to arrest dozens of its migrant workers earlier this month. In a joint statement on Facebook, the groups explained Friday’s action.
They wrote: “London Black Revs and the Malcolm X Movement have taken affirmative action against Byron restaurants chain in response to the Byron restaurants chain’s despicable actions in the past weeks having entrapped waiters, back of house staff and chefs in collaboration with UK Border Agency.
“Some 35 staff members, many of whom were led off in handcuffs and have been deported out of the country while hundreds more are hiding in fear.” The groups said they had unleashed “many thousands of live cockroaches, locusts and crickets” into the restaurants.
They added: “We apologise to customers and staff for any irritation, however, we had to act as forced deportations such as this and others are unacceptable.”
The Home Office confirmed that 35 migrants from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt had been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences at London Byron restaurants. It has been claimed that Byron lured the workers to the premises by offering them a fake training day, where Home Office officials were waiting to pounce.
The hashtag #boycottbyron has circulated on Twitter for the last few days, with demonstrations and placards held outside the restaurants.
Pics from last night’s #boycottbyron protest at their central London restaurant pic.twitter.com/ZT3bTw7FhD
— Don Flynn (@donflynnmrn) July 30, 2016
The Home Office dismissed the “trap” claims, and Byron refused to comment on the allegation. A Byron spokesman previously said: “We can confirm that several of Byron’s London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office.
“These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation.
“The Home Office recognises that Byron as an employer is fully compliant with immigration and asylum law in its employment practices, and that Byron had carried out the correct ‘right to work’ checks on staff members, but had been shown false/counterfeit documentation.”