British police have charged a 19-year-old man with violently disturbing and assaulting an ambulance worker during a protest outside a hotel housing asylum seekers in north-west England
LONDON – British police on Sunday charged a 19-year-old man with violent disorder and assault in connection with a protest outside a hotel housing asylum seekers in north-west England.
Police said an initially peaceful protest outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, near Liverpool, turned violent on Friday when some protesters threw projectiles, including lit firecrackers, at police and attacked a police van with hammers before setting it on fire.
Jarad Skeete, 19, was arrested along with 14 others at the protest. Skeete, who was accused of violently disturbing and assaulting an ambulance worker, has been remanded in custody and was due to appear in court on Monday.
Police said the incident left one officer and two members of the public with minor injuries.
Opposition Labor MP Lisa Nandy has criticized the government for creating a “toxic” mix of anti-migrant rhetoric and poor housing for asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their applications.
“If you’re leaning on a government talking about things like an ‘invasion’ in terms of immigration, you have a perfect storm, a really toxic mix that’s created,” Nandy told the BBC.
Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the UK Conservative Government condemned the violence and was working hard to stop “the excessive use of hotels” to house migrants.
Britain is taking fewer asylum seekers than some of its European neighbors, including France and Germany, but has seen a sharp increase in the number of people trying to reach the UK by crossing the English Channel in dinghies and other small boats.
More than 45,000 people reached Britain on this route in 2022. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said stopping small boat crossings was one of his top priorities.
Meanwhile scores of migrants have had to wait months or longer for a decision on their asylum claims, with many stranded in hotels or other inappropriate temporary accommodation.
It wasn’t the first time a migrant center had been the target of violence. In October, an attacker set fire to a processing center for new arrivals at Dover’s Channel Port. Police said the man was motivated by far-right ideology. He killed himself after the attack.
Follow AP’s coverage of global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration