Protesters were still gathered on roads close to the Stradey Park Hotel and at the site entrance on the evening of, Tuesday (Jul 11). There was a modest police presence with officers standing on Pentrepoeth Road adjacent to the new access, which has been cut through a hedgerow.
Pics. Elkanah Evans
Protester Derek Reeves said that he had been there from the start and that numbers had grown as the local community ‘came together’. Mr Reeves who also supported UKIP’s Neil Hamilton and manned the UKIP Llanelli office throughout Mr Hamilton’s tenure said that he did not believe that the protest had been hijacked by the right wing factions. He was critical of the left wing groups such as Black Lives Matter and Stand Up To Racism pointing out that many if not all were not from Llanelli.
You can listen the full interview with Mr Reeves (pictured) here:
Tensions are running high and there is a distinct set of people who appear to be controlling the protest and a distinct set of people filling social media with photos, videos and comments on the protest and on the asylum seekers. Politicians, police and the media are bearing the brunt of the anger of some protesters and social media commentators. It remains difficult to have an open dialogue without those controlling the protest intervening and defaulting to a narrow and divisive agenda.
Lee Waters MS has taken to social media to speak with what he refers to as two people who have worked closely with people seeking asylum. He posted: “There are lots of questions about asylum seekers, and a fair bit of concern. So I’m asking two people who have worked closely with people seeking refuge to get to a better understanding and to answer the questions people have put to me.
The MS also aired his views on why he would not be joining the protest outside the hotel. He said: “This is what happens when you allow an information vacuum, when you don’t work with local authorities, when you allow a backlog of cases to grow, when you allow profiteers to fill their boots.
“This is the wrong site and the wrong plan. The responsibility lies solely with the UK Government.
I will not be joining the protest outside the hotel, the protest should be outside the Home Office in London. I’ve spoken to lots of people who are genuinely fearful, mostly based on fears spread by haters that men will be roaming the streets praying on women and children. We need a debate centred on facts: https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/…/qa-migrants…/
“Most people apply for asylum in the UK come from countries at war or live under repression and are found to have legitimate grounds to be granted refugee status. If people seeking sanctuary come to Llanelli we should show compassion and thank God we were not born into their circumstances.”
Anger has been directed at the police, politicians and the media by protestors posting on social media. Police have been taunted daily at the site.
Our young reporter was challenged when he attended the venue. He said that at first he was told he did not have permission to take photographs on private property. He was then asked for identity and asked if he was going to give the protesters a fair report. He was told protestors had questioned other journalists who wanted to take photographs. Eventually he was allowed to take some photographs.
Our office also received a call from one of the people arrested at the venue demanding that we remove their address from a Dyfed-Powys Police report we published. Although we are not obliged to do so we have removed the details of the address from our website.
Despite their efforts politically and otherwise both Lee Waters MS and Dame Nia Griffith MP have come in for some strong criticism. Mr Waters and Nia Griffith have both been in contact with the Home Office and the local and county council. Both have been to the site at different times along with local councillors. Both have called for calm and a wider debate. Both issue a common cry that the decisions are Westminster based by a Conservative government. The media is also under fire from a number of social media commentators. Some have made it clear that the media are not welcome and have opted to promote their own views and ideology via live streams on Facebook.