HOME Secretary Suella Braverman has been condemned for “tacit victim blaming of asylum seekers” after violent protests in Liverpool.

Fifteen people, including a 13-year-old boy, were arrested after a police van was attacked with hammers and set alight and fireworks thrown at officers during a protest outside a hotel housing asylum seekers in the Knowsley area.

While the violence kicked off on Friday night, the Home Secretary remained silent until late on Saturday afternoon.

Eventually, she wrote a brief statement on Twitter. It said: “I condemn the appalling disorder in Knowsley last night. The alleged behaviour of some asylum seekers is never an excuse for violence and intimidation.

“Thank you to @merseypolice officers for keeping everyone safe.”

The statement has been widely condemned. Daniel Sohege, the director of human rights organisation Stand For All, wrote: “Finally. Could have done without the seemingly tacit victim blaming of asylum seekers though.”

University of Glasgow law professor James Chalmers commented: “Astonishing that the condemnation is both slow to arrive and qualified by a reference to ‘alleged behaviour’.”

Human rights lawyer Shoaib Khan said it was “disingenuous” for Braverman to condemn the violence when she had used inflammatory rhetoric against asylum seekers.

He wrote: “You called the people in these hotels invaders and criminals. Now you're blaming the British public for not wanting them in their community?

“When the government continuously tells people their country is being invaded by dangerous criminals and the government’s hands are tied because of leftie loony laws, what is the public expected to do?

“Who's actually to blame if the public then decides to fight the invaders?”

Welfare Scotland chair Rob McDowall added: “This is a shameful statement from the very person who foments the distrust and hatred of those who come here for our protection and who we have a duty at law to protect. Someone is going to end up seriously injured or worse!”

Labour MP and shadow minister Florence Eshalomi said that Braverman’s “words have consequences”, while LibDem Richmond Council leader Gareth Roberts said: “Even when ‘condemning’ the racists the Home Secretary still manages to get a dig in about asylum seekers.”

And Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said: "The shameful and appalling scenes in Knowsley show how far right groups are using social media to organise and promote violence.

"Everyone should support Merseyside Police in dealing with extremism and violence. 

"The Home Secretary is wrong to dismiss far right threats for political reasons. 

"Instead she should be championing vigilance against all kinds of extremism."

The Home Office also released a short statement on Saturday afternoon. It read: “The scenes outside the hotel and violence toward police officers last night by a group of people in Merseyside were totally unacceptable.

“We are working closely with Merseyside Police and partners on the ground to ensure the safety of those in our care and the wider community.”