Protesters have smeared security vans with animal excrement at a top hotel where staff have reportedly been sacked ahead of the arrival of asylum seekers.
Tyres were let down on the vans and demonstrators have threatened more direct action at the four-star Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, South Wales.
Two people were arrested at the weekend when they tried to stop police removing a car being used in the blockade.
Locals say it has developed into a ‘siege’ with 50 protesters camping outside and being brought hot food and drinks by supporters.
Dramatic footage taken on Sunday showed tensions mounting as protesters clashed with police as they demonstrated against plans to convert the hotel into an asylum seeker facility.
Police officers cuffing a woman as part of the protests – she insisted she hadn’t ‘done anything’
Furious protesters shouted ‘shame on you’ as officers held a woman
Horse manure has been used to daub door handles of vans from a security company brought in by the Clearsprings Ready Homes Ltd, one of Britain’s largest providers of housing to the Home Office.
One protester said: ‘The hotel is part of the history and fabric of the town – people are angry that this has been foisted upon us.
‘I’m not a racist, I feel some sympathy with asylum seekers but the best hotel for miles around is not the place for them.
‘It’s a bit of siege situation right now – we are organised and will see it out.’
The hotels two main entrances are blocked off by large rocks and protesters are stopping people coming and going.
A new entrance, created by cutting down hedgerow, has become the focus of the stand-off between protesters and Clearsprings.
Four lorry loads of Home Office-approved beds are waiting to be delivered to the landmark hotel which was due to start receiving 241 asylum seekers on July 3.
But protesters are refusing to allow them through the barricades which are being marshalled by police.
One hotel worker was allowed to leave at the weekend after a medical emergency involving one of his family.
In chaotic video which has emerged of the protest in Wales yesterday, a man was heard shouting at other demonstrators: ‘Sit on the floor, they need four officers to move you if you sit on the floor.’
Footage shared online shows how the protest outside the hotel in Wales escalated
Locals voice their concern to police officers outside the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, Wales
Police officers lined up outside the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, Wales
‘Officers remain at the scene to facilitate peaceful protest, where they are engaging with all parties and offering reassurance to the community’
Riled up crowd members were heard chanting’ de-escalation’ and ‘shame on you, officer’ as they cuffed one woman.
The man filming shouts ‘so the local police are now standing against the local people’.
Others shout ‘oh my God’ and ‘get off her’ as a woman appears to be arrested. Furious protesters yelled at the officers, branding them ‘scum’ before another man is heard shouting: ‘Who’s assaulting who now, b*****ds…’
A woman who is being held by police insists ‘I’m not doing anything, do you think this is right?’
A man claims: ‘She stood in the road and that was it folks.’
Local police were yesterday called to the scene by security staff at around 8.40am and stayed throughout the day as more protesters gathered.
The force later arrested two people for allegedly preventing the movement of a vehicle that was blocking the hotel’s entrance before releasing both individuals on bail.
Carmarthenshire County Council lost its bid for a High Court injunction to temporarily block plans to use the 77-bedroom Stradey Park to accommodate asylum seekers.
The council claimed it would mean a ‘material change of use from hotel to hostel’ and went against planning regulations.
It said handing it over to asylum seekers would result in job losses, impact on tourism and cut the number of hotel beds in the area by 25 per cent.
The blockade is aiming to prevent the hotel from being converted into a facility for housing asylum seekers
Protestors have started blockading the Stradey park Hotel in Llanelli after it fired 95 staff in plans to house up to 241 asylum seekers
Local campaigners have surrounded the hotel in opposition to the Home Office plans
Campaigners say more than 100 jobs are in jeopardy in what is already an employment blackspot.
Lawyers acting for hotel owner Gryphon Leisure Limited said it was helping with a ‘clear, pressing and urgent need’ for asylum seeker initial accommodation and there was no breach of planning rules.
The court was told that Gryphon director Robert Horwood had warned that, without the ‘injection of funds’ from a contract with Clearsprings there was ‘a serious risk that the use as a hotel would be lost in any event’.
Carmarthenshire County Council on Friday lost its High Court bid to block the plans after claiming the conversion would ’cause harm’ to Llannelli’s economy.
Judge Gavin Mansfield KC was due to give his reasons for dismissing the council’s application for an injunction at the High Court today.
The historic hotel in the village of Furnace, close to the Llanelli rugby club’s former Stradey Park stadium has hosted the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks in its rich history.
It has ‘stunning views’ of Carmarthen Bay and the Gower peninsula and couples who booked their weddings there are now desperately looking for other venues.
A petition entitled ‘Stop the Home Office using Llanelli’s Stradey Park Hotel to House Asylum Seekers, with more than 5,000 signatures was sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Robert Lloyd, of the Furnace Action Committee, said: ‘We will continue to pursue legal and civil lines to see what we can do.
‘We are not directly involved in any demonstration or blockade and will continue to lobby and see what we can do legally to stop this from happening.’
The Home Office plans to convert the hotel into a housing facility for asylum seekers have seen the hotel fire 50 full time staff and another 45 part time workers.
The protestors have claimed the Home Office plans will damage Llanelli’s local economy
The plans are set to see the hotel house up 241 asylum seekers as they wait for their claims to be processed.
However, the Home Office’s decisions garnered major opposition from local campaigners who are calling for asylum seekers to be more evenly distributed throughout the area.
All events, including weddings at the venue have been cancelled, in line with the aim to convert the spa hotel into a housing facility.
The Stradey Park Hotel and Spa, which sits inside a converted Edwardian mansion, is currently the largest hotel in Llanelli.
The blockade is aiming to prevent the hotel from being converted into a facility for housing asylum seekers.
Local campaigners have said they support ‘Carmarthenshire Council’s preferred model of distributing asylum seekers throughout the wider community’.
In an online petition, campaign group Furnace Action Committee noted that they ‘wish to see’ the hotel continue to ‘play its vital role in Carmarthenshire’s tourism policy’.
Labour MP Dame Nia Griffith yesterday called on local people to remain ‘calm’ as she said those with ‘genuine concerns’ about the Home Office plans should come to local representatives.
The MP for Llanelli called on local people to ignore ‘unpleasant stuff’ posted on social media following concerns about the involvement of far right elements.
‘What is important now is to differentiate between where a resident has a genuine concern about something, and some of the horrible stuff that we have seen on social media,’ the Labour MP told BBC One Wales.
Police arrested two people accused of preventing the removal of a vehicle that was blocking the entrance to the four-star hotel
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: ‘Officers have been at the scene of a protest at Stradey Park Hotel, in Llanelli, yesterday, following several incidents that caused a disturbance at the site.
‘Officers initially attended the site at around 8.40am at the request of security staff and remained at the scene to facilitate peaceful protest as the group increased in size.
‘Two people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing police following an incident whereby protestors prevented the recovery of a vehicle blocking the entrance to the property. They have been released on police bail.
‘Officers remain at the scene to facilitate peaceful protest, where they are engaging with all parties and offering reassurance to the community.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.
‘We have been clear that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6million a day.
‘The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer.’
Stradey Park Hotel and Dyfed-Powys Police were contacted by MailOnline for further comment.