Hundreds of people attend protests and counter-demonstrations in hotels of asylum seekers

A demonstration of around 200 people took place in Skegness, Lincolnshire, while a protest and counter-protest took place outside the Beresford Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall on Saturday.

In Skegness, protesters carried banners reading “no more refugees” as people chanted “we want our country back”.

Patriotic Alternative, designated as a far-right group by anti-racist activists Hope Not Hate, led a demonstration in Tower Gardens in Skegness, near the county hotel used to house asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers protest – Skegness
Laura Towler on stage during a protest by the nationalist group Patriotic Alternative in Tower Gardens in Skegness, Lincolnshire, near the County Hotel used to house asylum seekers (PA)

People grabbed a Patriotic Alternative banner that read “stop the invasion, we will not be replaced” and “you stay, migrants pay.”

Mark Collet, Laura Towler, Joe Marsh, Wesley Russell and Sam Melia, who claimed to be senior members of the group, were seen at the rally.

Lincolnshire Police said there were “no arrests or incidents reported” at the “Enough is Enough” rally in Skegness and the crowd “dispersed peacefully” when it ended.

Superintendent Pat Coates said: “We have a duty to uphold the right to legal protest, which is a fundamental part of our democracy, and Lincolnshire Police facilitated that right today.

“Throughout the day, our officers interacted with protesters, local community members, and visitors to the city while on patrol to help ease concerns and defuse tensions.”

Asylum Seekers Protest – Newquay
Cornwall Resists anti-fascists stand outside the Beresford Hotel in Newquay (PA)

In Newquay around 100 counter-protesters, with some holding signs reading “Refugees welcome” and “Seeking asylum is a right not a crime”, gathered outside the hotel.

An opposing group of about 100 people stood across the street, one of them holding a sign that read: “You are anti-white racists.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said “officers engaged with those in attendance to ensure everyone’s safety and facilitate peaceful protest” and no arrests were made.

Asylum Seekers Protest – Newquay
Cornwall Resists anti-fascists took part in a counter-protest (PA)

In a statement, Rosie Carter, policy director for the anti-fascist campaign group Hope not Hate, said: “Fart-right groups are trying to provoke tensions in local communities to further their own agendas.

“I hope you don’t hate seeing a 102% increase in far-right anti-immigrant activity in the last year.

“This huge increase in far-right anti-immigrant activity does not exist in a vacuum.

“It is incumbent on the government to end its inflammatory use of language that feeds and empowers the far right, put in place safeguards around hotels, and revisit its policies that have led to this dangerous situation in the first place.”

Asylum Seekers Protest – Newquay
Protesters from the nationalist group Patriotic Alternative and anti-fascist Cornwall Resists clash during a protest in Newquay, Cornwall (PA)

Jacob Morris, 22, a supporter of the Lincoln Patriotic Alternative who was at the Skegness rally, said: “I am protesting today against the decision of the council, and councils across the country, and the decision of the Government of His Majesty of putting migrants across the Channel in hotels, three, four and five star hotels and it is costing British taxpayers millions.

“Especially when this country is facing a cost of living crisis, you think maybe our government should spend on priorities.

“Ukrainians are one thing, but many of these cross-Channel people are certainly not Ukrainian, there have been reports in the press that many are from Albania and elsewhere. Albania has not been at war for years, it is a modern and stable country. They are taking advantage of us in this country.”

He claimed there were around “500 people” at the rally, adding: “Our argument is that many of these are not genuine asylum claims.”

He said there were two separate demonstrations in Skegness and “Patriotic Alternative organized and led the static demonstration and had nothing to do with the demonstration marching from the railway station”, saying they had contacted the police beforehand.

Asked if the group is racist, he said: “It’s not racist to stand up for your own people, that’s all I can say. We advocate for white Britons.”

It comes after a police van was set on fire and fireworks were launched during a protest outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, which also houses asylum seekers, earlier this month.


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