There were angry scenes on Saturday (Jul 8) outside the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli. Roads were closed as protesters demonstrating against Home Office plans to house asylum seekers at the hotel were met with a large police presence including armed officers according to one bystander.
The owners of the hotel were allegedly seen climbing through a hedge disguised as security guards. A bystander said that protesters approached the owners but were met with police who intervened.
One bystander who did not wish to be named shared a number of photographs and a video of one man being led away by two police officers. The bystander said that they believed that the police had read the man his rights but had released the protester shortly after speaking to him.
Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed that there had been no arrests made.
Protesters could be heard talking about the similarities in tactics used by the police at Penally Camp.
The protests have continued for weeks following the announcement that Asylum seekers would be housed at the hotel.
Staff have been made redundant and Carmarthenshire County Council have made a failed legal bid to halt the plans by the Home Office and the owners of the hotel.
An Action Committee accused of being NIMBY’s have reiterated that they would like to see a wider dispersal of the asylum seekers across the county and maintain the hotel is not a suitable venue. They claim that there will be an increased demand on already stretched local services.
Far right groups have hijacked the protest and have consistently posted scaremongering propaganda on social media. The posts include labelling the asylum seekers as paedophilles and thieves. Senior politicians have called for a greater dialogue with local people around Asylum seekers.
Groups like Black Lives Matter and Stand Up To Racism Llanelli have also been present at the venue as well as Far Right Watch Wales.
Despite fencing and boulders being placed at the hotel and wide ranging objections to the plans the asylum seekers are on schedule to move in to the hotel.
One of the far right groups Voice of Wales was recently ousted from the Diplomat Hotel where they planned to hold a meeting. They subsequently found a local pub, the Stradey Arms, where they set up a meeting surrounded by pop up banners promoting UKIP.
Posting on their Facebook page the Far Right Watch Wales took the publican to task over the hosting of the meeting at the Stradey Arms. Following the meeting the publican posted a response to criticism on Facebook.
The local issue as a result of global influences is set to continue in Llanelli and similar towns across the UK as the Home Office try to get to grips with an enormous number of unprocessed applications. The UK Government has ben severely criticised for the delays in repatriating people and not coming up with suitable accommodation for the large numbers still in the UK.
The asylum backlog refers to the number of people seeking asylum in the UK who are awaiting a decision on their case. At the end of 2022, there were 166,261 cases in the backlog, including those awaiting an initial decision and ‘pending further review’.
The Home Office in part puts this down to:
complexity of cases
paperwork provided by the individuals seeking asylum
resources available to process applications
appeals against initial decisions.