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Dozens arrested after London protest blocking removal of asylum seekers

BRITISH police arrested 45 people during a protest in London against the transfer of asylum seekers staying in a hotel to a barge off southern England.

Dozens of protesters outside the hotel in Peckham, southeast London, attempted to stop a bus carrying the asylum seekers from leaving, reportedly deflating its tyres and obstructing the vehicle by surrounding it, London’s Metropolitan Police said.

Tackling illegal migration is one of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s top priorities, and in order to bring down the high costs of accommodating migrants in hotels while their asylum claims are processed, the government has been trying to use barges and former military sites.

Critics, however, have called the Bibby Stockholm barge — which is docked at Portland Port in Dorset and can house up to 500 men — inhumane and compared it to a prison ship.

A number of police officers had been assaulted during the protest in Peckham but none were seriously hurt, police said.

“We will always respect the right to peaceful protest, but when officers are assaulted and obstructed from their duty then we can and will take decisive action,” Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said.

Arrests were made for offences including obstruction of the highway, obstructing police and assault on police.

Official data showed 711 migrants had arrived via small boats on Wednesday, the highest number for a single day in eight months.

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By The African Mirror