Fifteen arrests after police van set on fire in 'violent protest' outside asylum seeker hotel in Merseyside

10 February 2023, 22:42 | Updated: 11 February 2023, 16:56

A riot broke out outside a hotel on Merseyside that's believed to house asylum seekers, following a demonstration by 'far right protesters'
A riot broke out outside a hotel on Merseyside that's believed to house asylum seekers, following a demonstration by 'far right protesters'. Picture: Twitter/PA
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Fifteen people have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after a protest outside a hotel believed to house asylum seekers on Merseyside "turned into a riot".

Following a demonstration by "far right protesters", and a counter-protest by those opposing their message, chaos broke out outside the Knowsley Suites Hotel, where police arrived with riot gear.

Thirteen men and two women, aged between 13 and 54, have been arrested.

In the mayhem, a police van was set alight by protestors, as violence erupted.

Shocking videos shared posted on social media showed the destruction taking place on the streets outside the hotel, as further officers arrived on the scene.

The hotel has been used to accommodate asylum seekers since January 2022, according to Knowsley council.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The scenes outside the hotel and violence toward police officers last night by a group of people in Merseyside were totally unacceptable.

“We are working closely with Merseyside Police and partners on the ground to ensure the safety of those in our care and the wider community.”

There were violent scenes outside the hotel after an originally peaceful protest
There were violent scenes outside the hotel after an originally peaceful protest. Picture: PA

Merseyside Police said cops were called to the area where an "initially peaceful protest" and counter protest was being held prior to the start of the violence.

Read more: Nicola Bulley's partner says family is going through 'unprecedented hell' as he calls for every house to be searched

Read more: Two NHS nurses killed in horror car crash on holiday of a lifetime to Grand Canyon

Members of refugee crisis charity Care4Calais were at the scene and said they were "trapped".

A spokesman for the organisation wrote on Twitter: "We are deeply distressed a far right protest in Knowsley has led to riots.

"We can’t imagine the terror of the people inside the hotel. Far right protestors have set fire to a police van.

"The situation at the hotel in Knowsley where the far right are demonstrating & we are trapped in the car park still seems out of control.

"The police all ran up the road outside the hotel about 20 mins ago, and didn’t come back. Lots of shouting.

"We are tweeting from the hotel that’s the subject of a far right protest in Knowsley, Liverpool. We are trapped in the car park, surrounded by hundreds of far-right protestors who have broken through police cordons.

"Still trapped with counter demonstrators outside the hotel where the far right demo has become violent.

"Police trying to find a way for us to leave safely. People are very frightened: it is shocking to think how refugees in the hotel must be feeling."

Police clashed with protestors
Police clashed with protestors. Picture: Twitter

The chaos has been condemned by politicians, including Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotherham, who said he would visit the scene of the hotel on Saturday.

"Our area has been a sanctuary for people seeking refuge for centuries," he said.

"The disturbing scenes in Knowsley aren't representative of our area or its people. Hatred is not welcome here.

"I'll be visiting the site with the leader of Knowsley Council today."

Read more: High-altitude object shot down over Alaska, says White House

Read more: Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson dies aged 86 after short illness

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm officers are in Prescot dealing with two groups of protesters this evening, Friday 10 February.

"At around 6.30pm, officers were facilitating an initially peaceful protest and counter protest on Ribblers Lane.

"During the evening, missiles have reportedly been thrown and damage caused to a police vehicle. No injuries have been reported at this time.

"Additional officers are in the area to deal with these incidents.

"We have also implemented a number of road closures on the East Lancs Road and would urge motorists to avoid the area and those in the area to disperse."

Knowsley Labour MP George Howarth added: "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.

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

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Mark Rowley says the number of officers in the Met is falling

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Joe Biden cancels campaign event after testing positive for Covid-19

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Strictly scandal deepens as footage showing ex-pro telling partner he will 'kill her' emerges

Liz Truss

Reference to Truss' 'disaster' mini-budget removed from King's Speech files after ex-PM complains to civil service chief

Police found "over a dozen" firearms at Crooks' home

Thomas Crooks' father 'called police on the day of the Trump rally shooting'

Cameron Jones left his dying fiancee Demi by the side of the road

Moment driver flees from car wreckage leaving fiancee to die - before he later blames her for horror crash

Kim Johnson wants the two-child benefit cap to be scrapped

Labour MP calls for two-child benefit cap to be axed as she plans King's Speech amendment after policy retained

Adele has played 90 shows in Las Vegas

Adele announces she is stepping back from music after growing to ‘absolutely hate’ fame

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Two die and two children rushed to hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Locals have been warned to avoid the area

Locals warned 'do not open your doors' as huge fire erupts on Birmingham industrial estate

Joe Biden his facing pressure to step down ahead of November's election.

Joe Biden wrongly claims he will cap rent rises at $55 in latest gaffe