UK: 15 arrested after violent protests outside migrant hotel, instigated by adult asylum seeker propositioning schoolgirl

Riot police clashed with angry protesters on Friday evening in Knowsley, northwest England.
By Thomas Brooke
6 Min Read

Fifteen people have been arrested following violent scenes outside an English hotel housing migrants that left three people, including a police officer, with minor injuries.

The incident occurred on Friday evening outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, near Liverpool. An initial protest by concerned residents over the behavior of one of the hotel’s occupants was reportedly hijacked by individuals who authorities say only wanted to cause trouble.

Projectiles including fireworks were launched at police equipped with riot gear, and a police vehicle was set on fire. A counter-demonstration by the pro-refugee activist group Care 4 Calais further inflamed tensions.

The protest by local residents against the hotel’s continued use as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers had been intensified by reports of an adult asylum seeker propositioning a 15-year-old schoolgirl in the vicinity of the hotel last Monday. A video of the incident had gone viral on social media ahead of the protest.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy explained how a peaceful protest and counter-protest had been taking place outside the hotel when another group of protesters “turned up armed with hammers and fireworks to cause as much trouble as they could.

“Their actions could have resulted in members of the public and police officers being seriously injured or worse,” she added.

The Labour MP for Knowsley, Sir George Howarth, said the protest was triggered by an “alleged incident posted on social media,” adding: “Until the police have investigated the matter, it is too soon to jump to conclusions, and the effort on the part of some to inflame the situation is emphatically wrong.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman condemned the “appalling disorder” in a tweet on Saturday, stating that “the alleged behavior of some asylums seekers is never an excuse for violence and intimidation.”

Media outlets, including the publicly funded BBC, were quick to label the disruptors as members of the “far-right,” a claim some conservative commentators have taken issue with.

The left-wing Guardian newspaper, for example, reported the news with the headline, “Far-right protesters clash with police at Merseyside hotel housing asylum seekers.” However, the news report provides no evidence to justify using the term “far-right,” relying solely on the description of protesters given by the Care 4 Calais refugee charity.

Conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage tweeted in response to the incident: “The BBC were totally one-sided on their coverage of the disorder in Knowsley last night.

“The message is simple from the highly questionable Care 4 Calais group. If you object to single, undocumented men approaching underage girls – then you are ‘far right.'”

Political commentator Patrick O’Flynn added: “The Knowsley protest may have been hijacked by the ‘far right.’ Like most of us, I wasn’t there so don’t know. But I do know that working class communities now get that if they don’t protect their girls from on-street groomers then nobody else is likely to.”

“In 2023, it’s ‘far right’ to object to a 25-year-old asylum seeker preying on a 15-year-old girl – that’s what precipitated last night’s unrest in Knowsley,” wrote GB News presenter Martin Daubney. “Working class communities are sick of having liberal problems dumped on them. It isn’t ‘far right’ to object!”

Daubney further highlighted the hypocrisy of mainstream media outlets who regularly referred to chaotic Black Lives Matter riots in the United States following the murder of convicted criminal George Floyd by a police officer as “mostly peaceful protests” while parts of some cities burned to the ground.

“Was it ‘far right’ when BLM and Antifa thugs burned American cities for over 100 days?” he asked. “The liberal media sides with thugs, illegals, and now predatory men. The media is part of the problem.”

Protests from local residents against the indefinite use of hotels by asylum seekers have become commonplace across Britain in recent months, and several local councils have failed in legal bids to prevent the Home Office from using hotels in such a way. Local authorities in Yorkshire and Ipswich lost a High Court legal battle in November last year after claiming the use of hotels as migrant accommodation breached planning rules as it was deemed an “unauthorized material change of use.”

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After the court case, refugee charities called on British lawmakers to ban the disclosure of the names of hotels now being block-booked indefinitely as migrant accommodation over concerns of a backlash from local residents.

Politicians across the political divide are now saying the scenes witnessed in Knowsley on Friday will soon become the norm as local residents rise up against the government’s asylum policy failings.

William Clouston, leader of the center-left, minor Social Democratic Party, claimed it was “interesting” that the “justified condemnation of yesterday’s violence in Knowsley has been far louder from our political establishment than any willingness to acknowledge that running a reckless open border policy will, sadly, make disorder of this kind more frequent and more likely.”

Nigel Farage warned that “Knowsley is a grim portend of what is to come.”

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