Police quiz 45 people after Peckham protesters thwart asylum seekers' coach transfer to Bibby Stockholm

Forty-five people including a Home Office contractor are being questioned by police on Friday after protesters stopped efforts to transport asylum seekers to the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Activists blocked a coach that had arrived at 8.40am on Thurdsay to take eight migrants living at the Best Western Hotel, Peckham to the accommodation site in Portland, Dorset.

Footage shows lines of police officers, some who reported being assaulted, jostling with protesters.

Demonstrators slashed the coach’s tyres and jammed Lime rental bikes under its wheels to stop it moving.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said those arrested were taken into police custody for alleged offences including obstruction of the highway, obstructing police and assault on police.

A man, not part of the protest group, was detained for an alleged racially aggravated public order offence.

The Home Office told the Standard it “expects the highest standards from contractors and will not hesitate to take robust action when necessary”.

A spokesman added: “The Metropolitan Police are investigating, therefore we are unable to comment on this specific incident.”

On Thursday a large group of about 150, many with their faces covered, surrounded the vehicle and were seen linking arms and sitting on Peckham Road.

They could be heard chanting “no borders, no nations, stop deportations” and “when refugees are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back”.

The protest grew as a group calling itself SOAS Detainee Support wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Comrades have stopped our friends being taken to the Bibby barge - but more numbers needed!”

Streatham Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy reposted a message by them yesterday calling for reinforcements to stop another coach, which had been due to take migrants from a south London hotel to the barge.

Woman carried by police outside hotel in Peckham (Getty Images)
Woman carried by police outside hotel in Peckham (Getty Images)

A party spokesman said: “We don't support this protest action. Immigration enforcement staff have a job to do.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “We will continue to remove those with no right to be here.

“No amount of chanting, drum banging or tyre-slashing by a noisy few will prevent us doing what is necessary to deliver the firm but fair approach that the British people expect.”

The bus eventually left at 3pm with no migrants on board.

DAC Adelekan said: “It saddens me greatly to say that a number of officers have been assaulted in the course of their duty following an incident in Peckham today where they sought to uphold the law.”

According to reports, the protests are understood to have been organised by a coalition of left-wing student groups, Black Lives Matter, local refugee charities and a group of teachers who teach migrants English.

 (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

SOAS Detainee Support has called for “brave and tireless comrades” to turn up at the Home Office’s Lunar House immigration reporting centre in Croydon tonight.

It comes as the Home Office abandoned plans to move a group of asylum seekers to the barge in the wake of protests in Margate last week.

Rob Yates, the town’s Labour mayor, praised the community for their activism.

The Government plans to close 150 migrant hotels by May. They cost the Home Office around £8 million a day.