Clashes outside asylum seeker hotel were like a ‘war zone’, says charity boss

The founder of a charity to support refugees has described the shocking scenes in Liverpool last night as “like a war zone”. Police in Prescot, Knowsley, were dealing with two groups of protesters after a demonstration descended into chaos outside the Suites Hotel in Ribblers Lane.

Footage sent to The Echo shows people taking what appear to be sledgehammers to a police vehicle. Further shocking images from the scene showed a police riot van, parked near to the gathering, initially being vandalised with graffiti before being set alight.

Clare Moseley, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, said she was among 100 to 120 people from pro-migrant groups who went to the scene in reaction to the protest to show support for the asylum seekers. Knowsley MP Sir George Howarth said the demonstration was triggered by “an alleged incident on social media” and criticised misinformation claiming refugees were “feather-bedded” inside.

Read more: Three arrested after appalling scenes near hotel

Ms Moseley told the PA news agency: “I’m trying to get in touch with some of the poor men in that hotel, I can only imagine how frightened they are. It was like a war zone.”

Labour MP Sir George said: “I have referred an alleged incident posted on social media, which has triggered a demonstration outside the Suites Hotel, to Merseyside Police and Knowsley Council. 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.

“If an offence has been committed, the police should deal with it appropriately through due process. In addition, the misinformation about refugees being feather-bedded is untrue and intended to paint a picture that does not at all represent the facts.

“The people of Knowsley are not bigots and are welcoming to people escaping from some of the most dangerous places in the world in search of a place of safety. Those demonstrating against refugees at this protest tonight do not represent this community.

Read more: Chief Constable slams ‘completely unacceptable’ scenes in Liverpool

“We are not like that and overwhelmingly behave with sympathy and kindness to others regardless of where they come from.”

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