Coalition demands politicians take a ‘clear stand’ against attacks on asylum seekers

Woman holding a sign saying "Together With Refugees", the group that wrote an open letter against demanding politicians make a clear stand against racism in the UK
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Nearly 200 charities on 14 February urged the UK’s political leaders to “take a clear stand” against attacks on asylum seekers. It came days after an anti-immigrant protest descended into violent disorder. The open letter was co-ordinated by coalition campaign Together With Refugees and signed by 180 charities. It condemned the “horrifying” scenes on 10 February outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, near Liverpool.

The open letter described the events outside Suites Hotel as “horrifying”, and went on to say:

With the high risk of more premeditated extremist attacks around the country, leaders of all parties must now take a clear stand and condemn any further violence against those who come here to find safety.

The letter also urged political leaders to “set out the action they will take to prevent” further attacks.

Rhetoric against asylum seekers comes from the top

People have criticised home secretary Suella Braverman for her inflammatory rhetoric over immigration and asylum seekers. In particular, many have criticised her description of the growing number of refugees crossing the Channel. Opponents accuse her of demonising asylum seekers and fuelling hostility towards people seeking sanctuary.

A Home Office spokesperson noted that Braverman had condemned the “appalling scenes outside the hotel and violence toward police officers” seen outside Suites Hotel.

However, Braverman’s actual response to the riots in Knowsley wasn’t such a ‘clear stand’ against what happened. After highlighting a tweet by the home secretary in which she said that the “alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence“, the Canary‘s Steve Topple wrote:

There are no grounds for Braverman’s claim about refugees’ “behaviour” in Knowsley – except right-wing lies on social media.

Braverman essentially covered for the far-right by victim-blaming refugees

Many others made similar points, too

As the Canary noted, the police and BBC News also repeated similar rhetoric in their response to the riot.

No safe haven

Clashes broke out in Knowsley when racist troublemakers disrupted a pro-refugee gathering outside the Suites Hotel on 10 February. The building was housing asylum seekers. The far-right group Patriotic Alternative had protested outside the hotel earlier in February, but it denied organising the latest rally.

The open letter called attention to failures of the Home Office and the UK’s asylum system, which have served to place asylum seekers at greater risk. It said the lives of asylum seekers:

are in limbo as they wait, sometimes for years, for a decision on their asylum claim.  And it is clear that these massive delays are directly leading to the use of hotels for people seeking asylum – a completely inappropriate form of accommodation and a glaring confirmation that the system is broken.

Featured image via Together With Refugees/YouTube

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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  • Show Comments
    1. By the logic of this article people who condemn Tories as scum and call Britain a racist,fascist islamophobic country should take some responsibility for Islamic terrorist atracks in the UK such as the murder of David Amess MP and the Manchester Arena bomb.Its a foolish argument whichever way you look at it.

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