Man, 19, charged over violent protest outside Merseyside asylum hotel

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A man has been charged with violent disorder and assault over a protest outside a hotel which was housing asylum seekers.

Jarad Skeete, 19, of Irwell Close, Aigburth, Liverpool, was among 15 people arrested amid the demonstration outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley on Friday evening, Merseyside Police said.

Skeete is accused of violent disorder and assault by beating of an emergency services worker.

He has been remanded in custody and will appear at Wirral Adult Remand Court on Monday.

Knowsley protest
Police outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, on Saturday (Peter Powell/PA) 

Merseyside Police said the violence, which has been condemned by politicians, left an officer and two members of the public with slight injuries.

Lit fireworks were thrown at officers and a police van was set alight after being attacked with hammers.

Shadow levelling up secretary and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy described the protest as “absolutely horrendous”, and criticised the Government for creating a “toxic mix” of anti-migrant rhetoric and poor service provision.

Knowsley protest
A burnt out police van after a demonstration outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, on Friday night (Peter Powell/PA) 

“The story of the last decade has been the story of people across this country throwing open their homes to refugees from Ukraine, stepping up to support the Syrian appeal, when we had impending disaster.

“Even in the last few weeks, we’ve had people across the north of England stepping forward to put forward record donations to help with the appalling situation in Turkey and Syria.

“There are a small number of far right activists who whip up hate and hostility in this country, we all need to speak with one voice when we say that we utterly condemn them.”

Ms Nandy described the Government’s decisions to contract out asylum services, forgo consultation with communities and place refugees in unsuitable accommodation as a “recipe for disaster”.

Cabinet Meeting
Labour has criticised Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s immigration rhetoric following a violent protest outside a hotel for asylum seekers in Merseyside (Stefan Rousseau/PA) 

On Saturday, Ms Braverman condemned disorder at the protest, adding that the “alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence”.

Meanwhile, development minister Andrew Mitchell said on Sunday that the violence was “totally unjustifiable”.

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “We live in a country where peaceful protest is part of our way of life and I strongly support that.

“But violence in the way that we saw on Friday night is completely unacceptable, and the Government condemn it absolutely.”

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Development minister Andrew Mitchell condemned the violence in Knowsley as ‘totally unjustifiable’ (James Manning/PA) 

“This is an unprecedented time in terms of Britain helping people who are caught in desperate jeopardy,” he said.

“We have a duty to welcome these people – often they are caught in desperate jeopardy, but equally we have a duty to house them appropriately and to work with local people.

“The Home Office is trying very hard now to stop the excessive use of hotels and find different ways of placing them in appropriate places in the community. And that is something that the Home Office will achieve.”

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