A demonstration of support for refugees was held this weekend outside St George’s Hall in response to the recent attack on a hostel in Knowsley.

Hundreds gathered in the city chanting the line: “Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are

Refugee supporter crowd(c) Natalya Luke
Refugee supporter crowd
(c) Natalya Luke

welcome here.”

Far-right members gathered at the Suites Hotel in on February 10 to protest against migrants. The demonstration soon turned violent, where stones were thrown and a police van was set on fire. Fifteen people were arrested, including a 13-year-old boy.

Merseyside Police have announced they extended the dispersal zone in Knowsley that allows officers to direct people engaging in anti-social behaviour out of the area. They have also set up a dedicated team involved in identifying those involved in the attacks.

Refugee supporter crowd(c) Natalya Luke
Refugee supporter crowd
(c) Natalya Luke

Jeremy Corbyn attended the event and criticised the government for their approach to migrants. Home Secretary Suella Braverman faced criticism when in November she told MPs the South Coast was facing an ‘invasion’ of illegal migrants.

Corbyn said: “The number of refugees that make up our total population is less than half a percent. If you read the mainstream media,  you would think it was thirty times that figure.

“None of us here would willingly get on a dingy across the channel, mid-winter, in freezing conditions. Nobody willingly puts themselves into that sort of danger unless they are utterly desperate to get to safety.”

The demonstration supporting refugees was host by activist Chantelle Lunt, who throughout the event kept the crown updated with facts and quashed any untrue rumours.

She said: “The wealth of this city came from the proceeds of slavery and biggest form of migration to this city came from the slave trade.

“We can never forget this city’s history or overlook it. That’s why it’s our duty to make this city as inclusive as possible.”

Merseyside firefighters also stood by the rally, with Lee Hunter reading a poem written by his colleague, Brendan, about how refugees would be treated differently if they were white.

Weyman Bennett, co-convener of Stand up to Racism, attended to support the demonstration, but said he could empathise with those who attacked the hotel.

He said: “When the young people were chanting outside that hotel, they chanted, ‘We’ve got nothing.’ I think that’s the truth. But I tell you, don’t blame the people inside. The people to blame are inside Number 10.”

The demonstration called for more people to join community efforts such as Merseyside Firefighters or Stand Up to Racism to help counter any future attacks.

Featured image (c) Natalya Luke


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