Hotel at centre of Glasgow stabbing was housing asylum seekers

The hotel at the centre of the stabbing incident in Glasgow has been used to house asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police said a male suspect was shot dead during the incident at the Park Inn Hotel in West George Street on Friday afternoon. A 42-year-old police officer is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after being knifed during the attack, while five others, men aged 17, 18, 20, 38 and 53, were also injured. It is not being treated as terrorism.

Radisson confirmed the Park Inn was partly being used as temporary accommodation, a policy which has received criticism from campaigners.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to tensions, which have surfaced in the city’s George Square amid protests about the living conditions of refugees, when talking about the major. At least six people were arrested on Wednesday June 17 following ‘disgraceful’ scenes when far-right loyalists targeted the rally.

Asked about the hotel being used to house asylum seekers, she said: ‘Of course people are worried and yes people have an understanding of the location and what that location has been used for in recent times, but beyond that I don’t think it’s helpful for people to speculate.

‘Clearly there have been some tensions in Glasgow as there have been in other parts of the UK in recent times, but I want to send a message to people across Glasgow and across Scotland: when dreadful things like this happen, they shock all of us to our core but above all this should remind us of what unites us and not what divides us.’

Positive Action in Housing has criticised private housing provider Mears, which is subcontracted by the Home Office, for moving refugees from self-contained accommodation to hotels.

A spokeswoman for the campaign group said the 91-room hotel was housing asylum seekers for the Mears Group, which moved them there during the coronavirus lockdown.

Human rights activist Mohammad N Asif tweeted that he had spoken to someone staying there and said ‘many people had been stabbed by knives’.

The Refugee Survival Trust said they are checking in with residents they know had been staying at the Park Inn and tweeted: ‘Let’s find ways to make sure everyone affected gets the support they need right now.’

Mr Asif, 54, is chair of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation. He said: ‘I know two residents who live there, they are asylum seekers, because I work with them. One of them gave me a missed call and when I called him back he told me the hotel was attacked.

‘He saw a lot of blood and people were screaming and frightened, and the guy himself was quite frightened. But then someone told him not to speak.’

He added: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with the victims. No matter who the person was, it’s barbaric and it’s unacceptable.

‘I don’t know what the nature of the attack is, but I don’t really look at the nature of the attack.

‘I look at it as no-one has the right to attack any other person, no matter what are your differences background is.

‘You are not allowed to take the law into your own hands and attack innocent people, no matter who you are.

‘I am really, really gutted. People who left their homes and woke up today dreaming for their future and suddenly they are [attacked]. This is just awful.’

Mr Asif said the resident ‘is not sure who the attacker was’ or the motive behind it, adding: ‘He was almost crying in his voice. He was quite frightened.’

Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Radisson Hotel Group’s Area Senior Vice President Northern & Western Europe, said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic event that happened today on West George Street in Glasgow.

‘We are working with the hotel owner and all the relevant local authorities, including Police Scotland, to support the investigation.

‘Police Scotland has confirmed the incident has been contained and there is no further threat to the public.

‘During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the hotel has been occupied for temporary housing. For more information on the incident, please contact Police Scotland.’

A Mears Group spokesman said: ‘We will not anticipate a live police investigation, but we can confirm that the attack happened in a hotel where we are housing asylum seekers during the lockdown period.

‘We will provide more details as we are able to and our priority is to look after the welfare of our service users, who will no doubt be traumatised by this terrible event.

‘Tonight, we also think of the staff in the hotel and our colleagues at the scene – all are in our thoughts.’

A spokesman for the Home Office added: ‘We are aware of an incident at West George Street in Glasgow, which is currently being investigated by the police.’