TLM condemns far-right thugs who attacked Knowsley refugee centre – and Tories fanning flames

Black-led anti-racist group also pays tribute to people of Liverpool and other communities who have welcomed refugees

The Liberation Movement (TLM) is a cross-party, multi-faith, anti-racist alliance of African Asian Caribbean and other people of colour and their allies inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and strongly supported at the grassroots by community and trade union activists. The group has spoken out on last week’s arson and violence by right-wing extremists against asylum-seeker accommmodation in Knowsley:

Black led anti-racist The Liberation Movement (TLM) deplores the violence by far-right thugs against migrants, in Knowsley, Merseyside, near Liverpool, on Friday, and pledge we will do all in our power to defend migrants, asylum seekers and refugees

TLM condemns divisive rhetoric from government ministers, including Home Secretary Suella Braverman, which is responsible for stoking up hostility towards them by, among other things, describing their presence in the English Channel as “an invasion”.

We note that Jewish leaders have also criticised such hate speech, with the Liverpool violence at the Suites Hotel, Knowsley, coming just two weeks after Holocaust Memorial Day, which TLM marked by providing a keynote speaker at a commemorative event. The Jewish leaders noted that the same hate-filled lies from government politicians about Jews, in the 1930s, led to the murderous Kristallnacht attacks on their community in Nazi Germany, which claimed many lives.

TLM national co-ordinator Deborah Hobson said: “We applaud the brave actions of our sister organisation Care4Calais, who were in Knowsley to stand by migrants at the hotel, despite being heavily outnumbered by the far-right thugs. TLM, joining with other people among Britain’s justice-loving majority, give our solidarity to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and will defend them at every opportunity.”

We note the statement from Merseyside police that several people, aged between 13 and 54, have been arrested during the violence and one of their vans was burnt out. Recently, fascists have mobilised on a national basis to attack vulnerable people from abroad, most of whom have fled war and persecution in their own counties and been put in hotels in England, Scotland and Wales. The fascists have used time-worn racist tropes about Britain being “swamped” and alleged attack by migrants on local females, to incite residents against them.

Other cities and towns, as well as Liverpool, have seen local communities, trade unions and politicians commendably come together to build resistance to far-right hatred. We praise the statement this year from Britain’s largest unions in support of migrants. All communities should show solidarity, not waiting for bad-intentioned people, who wish to spread hate, to turn up before the necessary actions are taken.

The Conservative government, and their cheerleaders in the news media, have deliberately whipped up anti-migrant feelings in a cynical attempt to drawn attention away from the economic crisis they have unleashed on the country and are using scapegoats to do that.

Britain, a wealthy Global North country, is not being overrun by Global Majority people of colour. In fact, Britain is ranked just sixth in Europe regarding the number of asylum seekers and refugees to whom it has given protection.

What Britain needs is an asylum system that allows for faster and fairer treatment of those desperate people forced to use it. That means, more not fewer safe and legal routes for them, as called for by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

We demand positive action from the British government. But have to say, its deplorable retreat from some of the important recommendations made by the government’s Windrush report, in the 75th anniversary year of the iconic ship bringing people from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after the war, does not bode well. We join with the Jewish community, and others, in saying: #NeverAgain.

Refugees are welcome. The Tories – and the Labour front bench – are all too happy to fan divisions and hatred, but they do not speak for most of us – and if they want refugees to stop coming here they should stop creating and inflaming situations that force people to become refugees.

Those interested in joining TLM can do so here.

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