Published: August 29, 2020 3:05:40 pm
Several far-right activists in the UK have drawn widespread criticism after a series of videos surfaced, in which they are seen storming hotels housing asylum seekers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The footage show them knocking on bedroom doors and accusing asylum seekers of wasting British taxpayers’ money, The Guardian reported.
Members of the UK-based far-right group ‘Britain First’ have been raiding hotels and interrogating asylum seekers across the country. Government officials have now begun installing barricades and fences outside the hotels, to prevent the entry of these groups, the Independent reported.
The videos have been criticised by thousands of social media users, who have accused the group of harassing the asylum seekers through intimidation tactics. In the videos, the activists repeatedly ask the migrants where they are from and how long they have spent in the country.
Britain First – led by Ashlea Robyn – are now harassing migrants and asylum seekers in their temporary accommodation. This is intimidation and should be prosecuted. It’s only a matter of time until this becomes violent. (ht @Marsh4LL1) pic.twitter.com/OyUXIUO9g0
— Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) August 28, 2020
“Any violence or abuse directed towards asylum seekers is completely unacceptable,” a UK Home Office spokesperson told the Independent. “We take the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously and we are taking all necessary and legal steps to protect the people in our care. All incidents at our accommodation providers are reported to the Home Office immediately, and we then work with the provider to put in additional measures if required.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has been providing temporary accommodation to migrants seeking asylum in the country while their applications are being looked into by the authorities.
Faced with a significant surge in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in recent months, the UK’s Home Office has booked around 4,000 rooms in hotels across the country for them to stay in upon their arrival, The Times reported.
Some far-right groups have also begun circulating lists of hotels offering accommodation to asylum seekers, according to a report by The Guardian. They have left a barrage of negative reviews on the hotels’ websites, and have urged their supporters not to stay there even after they reopen for the general public.
Many critics of ‘Britain First’ and other far-right groups have said that discriminatory comments by some of the UK’s top leaders may have motivated the recent spate of attacks. In July, Brexit party leader Nigel Farage, who is known for his staunch anti-immigration stance, slammed the Home Office for accommodating asylum seekers in hotels.
“I tried to book a room at the 4 Star Bromsgrove Hotel & Spa, but it was closed to the public,” he tweeted. “Turns out it’s accommodating 147 illegal migrants and we’re all paying for it.” Farage also shared a video in which he is seen visiting the hotel and condemning the state of immigration in the country, the Independent reported.
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