A lifeboat crew from RNLI Hastings was blocked from going out to sea by a mob who were angry about refugees demanding the volunteers ‘don’t bring anymore back’
A lifeboat crew has been blocked from going out to sea by a mob who were angry that they were going to save refugees.
The group reportedly shouted “horrible” abuse at the RNLI volunteer crew.
Zoe, from Hastings, calling into James O’Brien’s LBC radio show on Thursday, said she witnessed the group blocking the lifeboat.
She said they shouted: “‘Don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up, that’s why we stopped our donations,’ and that kind of really horrible stuff.”
She added: “It was really upsetting, and you could hear the hatred in their voice.”
Zoe said she was on the beach, near the harbour arm, with her boyfriend on November 20, when they heard the lifeboat station open, and assumed they had been called out.
She told LBC that as the crew pulled the boat out and were heading into the water a group of people stood directly in a line in front of the boat.
Presenter O’Brien asked her: “Are you sure?”
She said: “I’m absolutely sure, the police were called. It really shook me to the core and we thought of it yesterday night when we saw the news that people had passed away again [when 27 people drowned crossing the Channel on November 24].”
A spokesperson for the RNLI said: “We can confirm an incident was reported to the police. The lifeboat was able to launch and the station remains on service.”
A spokesperson for Sussex police said: “We can confirm an incident was reported to the police. The lifeboat was able to launch and the station remains on service.”
MP Nadia Whittome tweeted: “Lifeboat crews are volunteers who put themselves at risk to save others.
“It’s shameful that people are abusing them and trying to stop their boats launching. This abuse is fuelled by sections of the media that have vilified refugees and the RNLI.
“Solidarity with RNLI Hastings.”
A video posted on Twitte r seemed to show the moments before the group blocked the boat, with a man being filmed shouting at the crew: “Don’t bring no more back here! That’s why we stopped our donations.”
Whilst a small number in the town vocalised their opposition to helping refugees, 250 people gathered in Hastings for a vigil on Thursday evening for the 27 people who died trying to cross the Channel.
Also last week, local businesses and people helped 93 people who arrived on Hastings’ beaches via lifeboats.
One group of largely men and five teenage boys, spent two days at sea in a small dinghy before Hastings RNLI saved them on November 16.
Once brought in, they were met by police and volunteers from Hastings Supports Refugees who handed out hot drinks, food, warm clothing and blankets.
Five days earlier, local businesses came together to help 53 people, including several children who arrived, on Hastings’ beaches.