Asylum seekers clash at hostel

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The Independent Online
FIFTY-ONE asylum-seekers were moved yesterday from a hostel and three were arrested after fights broke out between rival ethnic groups. Police in riot gear and specialist negotiators were called to the hostel in St Leonards-on-Sea, near Hastings, East Sussex, after outbreaks of violence.

Police and social services relocated the 51 people last night to a centre for asylum-seekers in Ashford, Kent. No one was reported seriously injured, although some were thought to have been hurt.

The disturbances follow violence between asylum-seekers and residents in Dover. The Home Office has acted to disperse the refugees concentrated in Kent and London after complaints that the local authorities cannot cope with the rising numbers.

Yesterday's trouble occurred at the Hotel Adelphi. Three groups of asylum- seekers - from Kosovo, Afghanistan and Kurds from Iraq - are believed to have been involved. More than a dozen officers were called to the hotel. Negotiators were trying to calm tempers last night before some of the people were relocated.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: "We first heard there was a disturbance here at about midday, but we were called back again to contain the situation after violence erupted again later, at about 4.15pm."

She added that some of the police were wearing riot gear and there were two trained dogs on the scene, but no officers were armed.

The spokeswoman added that it was not yet known what had caused the disturbances at the hotel, which has been converted into a hostel for asylum- seekers.