Crowds gather at Liverpool anti-racism rally following migrant hotel violence

Hundreds of people have gathered at an anti-racism rally in Liverpool which was organised in response to violent scenes outside a migrant hotel last week.

Large crowds attended the “refugees welcome” protest outside St George’s Hall in the city centre from noon on Saturday.

Jeremy Corbyn MP addressed crowds alongside trade unionists and activists from Stand Up to Racism, charity Care4Calais and Polish Migrants Organise for Change.

The protest was organised after a police van was vandalised and fireworks were thrown during a demonstration outside the Suites Hotel in the Knowsley area of the city on February 10.

Knowsley protest
Police in riot gear after a demonstration outside the Suites Hotel in Knowsley (Peter Powell/PA)

A small group of around 10 anti-migrant demonstrators reportedly gathered outside Lime Street station and are understood to have had heated verbal exchanges with anti-racism demonstrations, with police separating both groups.

Photographs taken by the PA news agency show arrests being made, but Merseyside Police said it was not aware of any and would not go into further detail.

Videos on social media showed crowds chanting “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”.

Demonstrators waved socialist and trade union flags, including that of the RMT trade union.

One speaker said Liverpool has been “bringing in people from around the world for as long as we’ve been a city and we cannot forget our roots”, while another said the city’s accent is a result of migration.

Foreign-born Liverpool residents also spoke of how they feel at home in the city.

Following the rally, Mr Corbyn tweeted: “After the horrific events in Knowsley, thousands of anti-racist campaigners have mobilised in Liverpool to stand up for refugees.

“We will not let the far-right divide us.

“We are a mass movement, united in our belief in a more compassionate, caring and peaceful world.

Campaign group Hope Not Hate said on Twitter that a demonstration under the banner of “This Is Our City” was due to take place in Liverpool on Saturday.

It said the demonstration has been promoted “through football hooligan networks.”