PSNI ‘aware’ of asylum protest plan in Carrickfergus today
The PSNI has said it is “aware” of plans to hold a protest today in Carrickfergus over the use of a local hotel to accommodate asylum seekers.
The police service said that “as with any protest” there would be “an appropriate and proportionate policing plan”.
The PSNI also revealed that social media posts about the use of the Loughshore Hotel, on the southern outskirts of the town, to accommodate the asylum seekers are now under investigation as “potential hate crimes”.
That came after Alliance Party MLA Stuart Dickson had said two asylum seekers had to be moved to an undisclosed location over fears for their safety and that of their family back home after photographs were taken and published on social media.
Humanitarian, anti-racism, religious and minority ethnic groups urged the PSNI, in a joint statement, to protect the asylum seekers in Carrickfergus.
Those who signed the joint statement, a group that includes Amnesty International and the Belfast Multi Cultural Association, said the asylum seekers had been subjected to “intimidation”.
The statement added: “Silence is not an option when leadership is needed.”
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said: “As a police service we are committed to protecting everyone, but in particular, vulnerable people.
“Over the course of this week officers in Carrick have been engaging with the men and women who are seeking asylum and various stakeholders including the Home Office and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.”
“Police will continue to engage with and provide reassurance to all parties and indeed the wider migrant community who we know are concerned by these events.”