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Violence Erupts in Knowsley Asylum Seeker Protests

A violent protest erupted outside a hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, where asylum seekers were being housed, resulting in 15 people being arrested, including a 13-year-old boy, and three people injured. The protest, which began in the evening, saw fireworks being thrown at police officers and a police van being attacked and set alight using hammers and lit fireworks. The motive behind the violence was reportedly rumoured and unfounded allegations of inappropriate advances towards a teenage girl in Kirkby, which had been circulated on social media.

According to Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, the violence was not justified and police were attacked and intimidated by a group of individuals, including those wearing masks and balaclavas. She condemned the violence and stated that it was not an appropriate way to resolve the issue. The incident has been widely condemned by local politicians, including Knowsley MP Sir George Howarth, who stressed that the community is welcoming to people fleeing danger and seeking safety.

The protest was also met with a counter-protest by around 100 to 120 people from pro-migrant groups, who came to show support for the asylum seekers. Clare Moseley, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, described the scene as “like a war zone” and expressed concern for the safety and wellbeing of the asylum seekers. Knowsley Council leader Graham Morgan also condemned the violence, stating that it was unacceptable and had put the safety of the local community, police officers, and emergency services at risk.

Violence Erupts in Knowsley Asylum Seeker Protests

The incident has sparked widespread outrage and concern, with the Home Office calling the scenes of violence “totally unacceptable” and vowing to work closely with Merseyside Police and partners to ensure the safety of those in their care and the wider community. A dispersal order has been put in place in the area for 48 hours, and police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Asylum seekers, including Ahmed, a teacher from Egypt who arrived in the country just a month ago, spoke about being afraid and feeling unsafe after witnessing the protest from the window of the hotel. Ahmed expressed concern that the violence would create a negative perception of asylum seekers and make it more difficult for them to integrate into British society.

The incident highlights the growing tensions and divisions surrounding asylum seeker issues in the UK, with some groups opposing the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers, while others are working to support and welcome them. The violent protest and subsequent condemnation from local leaders and organizations highlight the need for constructive dialogue and a nuanced understanding of the complexities surrounding asylum seeker issues.

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