Three arrested on suspicion of violent disorder during protest outside UK migrant hotel
UK police have arrested three people on suspicion of violent disorder during an anti-immigration protest by far-right demonstrators outside a hotel used to house asylum seekers near Liverpool.
Merseyside Police said "missiles" had been thrown at officers and a police vehicle was damaged but no injuries were reported after several hundred demonstrators rallied late on Friday.
Asylum seeker advocacy groups said the protesters were affiliated to far-right groups.
White nationalist group Patriotic Alternative denied it was the organiser, after holding a protest outside the hotel last week.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul White said: "The scenes… were completely unacceptable, putting those present, our officers and the wider community in danger."
The Liverpool Echo newspaper said a police riot van was set alight.
The Home Office has been using the hotel to temporarily house asylum seekers since last year, according to local media.
The Liverpool Echo published images of police in riot gear facing off black-clad protesters as smoke rose from a burning vehicle.
It said footage sent to the newspaper also showed protesters apparently attacking a police vehicle with sledgehammers.
Sky News reported that there was also a counter-protest by refugee groups and the situation "soon got out of control".
Protesters "got to the police van and they set it on fire and it actually broke into a really big fire and exploded", Claire Mosely, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, told the channel from the scene.
"Then they broke through again and they started fighting with the police," Mosely said.
"I was really shocked… how quickly it got worse."
Sky News said the protest was believed to have been sparked by a video filmed outside the hotel that was posted on social media.