TEMPERS threatened to boil over at a protest against asylum seekers being housed at a hotel in Manvers last weekend - as two men were arrested by police.
The Holiday Inn has been used by the government as a temporary ‘bridging accommodation’ for asylum seekers travelling to the UK.
It was initially used in 2021 to house Afghan families who were fleeing from the Taliban.
Since then, it’s believed around 130 people are situated on the site - and MP John Healey slammed the decision to extend the contract until October without any community consultation.
On Saturday, two protests were out in force - one supporting the asylum seekers, and those who don’t.
The anti-protest garnered support on a scale of around four to one, with hundreds attending to show their support against ‘fascists and racists’.
George Arthur, secretary of the Barnsley Trades Union Council, told the Chronicle he was pleased to see how many people showed their support.
He added: “I feel it’s really important to be here at this counter demonstration.
“I’m really disgusted that some far right-wingers came out to this hotel complaining because there’s some asylum seekers inside.
“The asylum seekers have got very little in clothes and get very little money whilst they’re waiting to hear their claims heard.
“For them to be facing far right-wingers who are calling them all sorts of names is absolutely disgraceful.
“I’m really pleased there’s a large number of us who turned up to show we support the right of asylum seekers to be here.
“They should have their claims looked at quickly and seriously by the government.”
George added that it was a crying shame the protest even had to happen.
“I think it’s really sad that people want to look for divisions between working people and divide on racial grounds,” he added.
“For me, we’re a country which is the sixth richest in the world and have lots of resources.
“Those resources should be used to look after working class people, give them a decent pay rise - but also look after people from other countries who need the protection.”
Messages of thanks from asylum seekers in the hotel were plastered on the windows.
One read: “Thank you very much. We are feeling safe with you.”
Tempers threatened to boil over on a number of occasions as the protesters came closer together, but there were no ugly scenes reminiscent of Knowsley just a few weeks earlier.
There was a large scale police presence at the scene, and two arrests were made by the force.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Two men, believed to have been involved in the protest, were arrested in the area.
“One was detained on suspicion of obstructing a public highway and is in police custody.
“The second was detained on suspicion of public order offences and has been de-arrested.
“If you were in the area and were affected, thank you for your patience.”
The Chronicle attempted to speak to a number of people who were protesting against Holiday Inn being used in the manner it is, though no-one wanted to comment - and instead we were passed from pillar-to-post.