Anti-racism rally held to welcome refugees to the UK

Hundreds attend demonstration, while a small number of anti-migrant protesters seen

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the rally in Liverpool welcoming refugees. PA
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Hundreds of people joined an anti-racism rally in Liverpool on Saturday that was organised in response to violent scenes outside a hotel housing migrants.

Large crowds attended the “refugees welcome” protest at St George's Hall in the city centre.

A small group of about 10 anti-migrant demonstrators reportedly gathered outside Lime Street railway station.

Police kept the two groups separated but did not say they had made any arrests.

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”.

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

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

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) at the refugees welcome rally in Liverpool city centre. PA

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

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

After 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.”

Migration into the UK is a major political issue and the ruling Conservative party wants to reduce the numbers of people entering the country.

The number of refugees landing on the south coast, having made dangerous voyages across the English Channel from France, has increased from a few hundred less than five years ago to tens of thousands last year.

The UK Government has pledged to reduce the flow of migrants across the channel and has set up initiatives to tackle it, including a plan to deport them to Rwanda.

Updated: February 19, 2023, 4:11 AM