Police clashes are ongoing in Dover as anti-immigration protestors have blocked the A20 dual carriageway in both directions while shouting ‘England ’till I die’.
Several officers were seen restraining one person on the ground before arresting them and at least 50 officers are at the scene by the A20, which remains blocked in both directions.
There were fears of violence ahead of today’s demonstrations with both pro and anti-immigration activists announcing their intention to assemble in the Kent town.
Rival groups have assembled in Dover to demonstrate over the arrival of thousands of migrants in small boats.
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Police clashes are ongoing in Dover as anti-immigration protestors have blocked the A20 dual carriageway in both directions while singing Rule, Britannia! as they march
Several officers were seen restraining one person on the ground. At least 40 officers are at the scene by the A20, which remains blocked in both directions
There is a large police presence in the area while the protests are ongoing along the A20 in both directions
A protester comes up against a line of police officers during the heated demonstration in Dover this afternoon
Protesters raise their arms in the air, while others capture the scenes on phones, as groups were confronted by police
The campaigners came up against a wall of police officers as they demonstrated against Channel crossings in Dover today
A group of protesters are held back as they demonstrate against immigration and the journeys made by refugees in Dover
Police officers wearing face coverings grab hold of a protester during the demonstrations in Dover this afternoon
Police officers wearing face coverings speak to a protester as other appear to be shouting during the Dover demonstrations
An officer walks in front of three police vans as a smoke grenade was set off during the demonstrations this afternoon
A police officer grabs the arms of a protester, wearing a backpack and holding a mobile phone, during the demonstrations
A woman is helped over the railings as police clashed with anti-immigration protesters on the A20 in Dover this afternoon
A man holds up a St George’s flag with messages including ‘Justice 4 Bunny’ and ‘Save Our Children’
A number of flags were held aloft as campaigners made their way down to the Kent coast today to demonstrate
An anti-migrant protester is removed by police as they demonstrate in Dover against immigration and the journeys made by refugees crossing the Channel to Kent
Campaigners, one wearing a face covering, held up a flag of St George and dropped to a knee during the demonstration
A man stands and salutes as others take a knee during the anti-migrant protest in Dover this afternoon
Rival protesters in support of immigration have come out in their droves to show they welcome refugees
Traffic on the A20 was at a standstill in both directions after protesters assembled on the road in large numbers.
Many wore Union flag face masks and carried banners. Some shouted ‘England ’til I die’ and sang Rule, Britannia.
There have been other sporadic clashes with the group of at least 50 police officers by the A20. It is thought that groups from across the country have travelled to Dover.
It comes despite pleas from local MP Natalie Elphicke to ‘stay away’ to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.
Speaking on Friday, MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘People are rightly angry about the number of people breaking into Britain in small boats. It is completely unacceptable.
‘But a protest in Dover in the middle of a pandemic is not a sensible or responsible thing to do. We cannot risk a second wave – protesters should stay away from Dover this weekend.
Pictured: The White Cliffs of Dover were lit up with a series of massive projections in support of migrant welfare on Friday evening
RIP Aylan Kurdi: To mark the fifth anniversary of the his death, the massive projection paid tribute to Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi who died in the Mediterranean in 2015
Another of the messages projected onto the cliffs read: ‘These cliffs mean hope’
‘Police resources are better used fighting crime than policing political demonstrations.’
The Kent town saw ugly clashes in 2016 when rival protest groups assembled to demonstrate over immigration.
Meanwhile a demonstrator who goes by the name The Little Veteran on social media is calling on people to ‘shut the port down for days’ in protest against migrant crossings.
In a video posted on YouTube, he distanced himself from other groups who may come to the port and called for a peaceful demonstration.
Instead he called on people to drive slowly along roads and block harbour entrances with boats.
The protest comes days after a record 416 migrants in 28 boats reached the UK. So far this year, at least 5,586 refugees have crossed the Channel by boat.
Pro and anti-immigration protesters have gathered in Dover for a large demonstration today
On Friday night the words ‘Rise above fear. Refugees welcome’ were beamed onto the White Cliffs of Dover by humanitarian charity Freedom From Torture.
A heavy police presence is in place in the town, with large concentrations of officers in Market Square and the railway station.
A cohort of officers on horseback are among those monitoring the situation.
Various groups had announced their intention to travel to Dover on Saturday to protest for or against migrant crossings.
Pro-migrant activists gathered in Market Square in a demonstration organised by Kent Anti Racism Network.
Concerns have been raised by anti-racist group Hope Not Hate that far-right groups will make the trip to Dover on Saturday.
Dr Joe Mulhall, head of research at Hope Not Hate, said there had been a build-up of anger among the far-right as migrant crossings have continued.
He said: ‘It’s one that has a potential for popular support so a lot of the grifters on the far-right are not going to let an opportunity like this go by.
‘There’s a danger that there will be violence, Dover has a history of that.’
In 2016, 13 people were arrested and six injured after protesters brawled with hundreds of anti-fascist campaigners.
Yobs pelted the anti-fascists with metal poles and bottles – and they hit back by launching bricks. One person suffered a broken arm in the fracas.
Two coaches at a nearby service station had swastikas painted on them in blood.
There were fears of violence ahead of today’s demonstrations with both pro and anti-immigration activists announcing their intention to assemble in the Kent town
Rival groups have assembled in Dover to demonstrate over the arrival of thousands of migrants in small boats
Addressing a crowd of about 100, Peter Keenan from Kent Refugee Help said when society sees people who are fleeing war and turns them away ‘that says something about the state of your society’.
He continued: ‘We are not those people. We are standing up and welcoming people who are in desperate circumstances fleeing from awful situations.’
A group of around 60 people shouting ‘freedom’ and ‘get these scum off our streets’ were seen moving along Dover seafront.
Many were carrying Union flags and wearing face masks decorated in the colours.
A heavy police presence is in place in the town, with large concentrations of officers in Market Square and the railway station
Members of the Kent Anti-Racism Network were seen shouting messages in support of refugees
A cohort of officers on horseback are among those monitoring the situation
Various groups had announced their intention to travel to Dover on Saturday to protest for or against migrant crossings
Many people in Dover came out to show their support of migrants and refugees holding banners reading: ‘Refugees welcome’
Some protesters held signs with the word ‘welcome’ written in many different languages
Meanwhile, others were expected to try and ‘shut the port down’ by driving slowly along roads and potentially trying to block harbour entrances with boats.
Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate had raised concerns in advance of the event that there will be violence and that splintered elements of the British far-right may also travel to Dover.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Brookes from Kent Police said: ‘As a force, it is our responsibility to facilitate peaceful protests, however we will not tolerate violence or disorder.
‘Anyone planning to visit Dover with the intention of committing offences should be aware they are not welcome here and that we will seek to prosecute anyone who breaks the law.’
Dr Mulhall said the anti-racist protest in Market Square could be a ‘possible flashpoint’ for tensions.
However he says Hope Not Hate are ‘less fearful’ than they were a few days ago, with some far-right elements not expected to make the trip.
Pictured: Clashes as anti-immigration groups including the National Front (NF) and the English Defence League (EDL) protest in Dover in 2016. There were concerns that similar scenes could be seen over the weekend in the border town
Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate had raised concerns in advance of the event that there will be violence and that splintered elements of the British far-right may also travel to Dover
Hope not Hate protesters held signs reading: ‘Solidarity with all fleeing war, poverty, persecution and climate catastrophe’
Police are still trying to establish how many people are going to be involved in protests and have announced a ‘significantly increased’ police presence will be in place.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Brookes, of Kent Police, said: ‘As a force, it is our responsibility to facilitate peaceful protests, however we will not tolerate violence or disorder.
‘Anyone planning to visit Dover with the intention of committing offences should be aware they are not welcome here and that we will seek to prosecute anyone who breaks the law.
‘We always urge organisers to work with us beforehand to ensure their actions are not undermined by anyone who may seek to attend such an event simply as an excuse to commit acts of violence and disorder.
‘Whilst we respect the right to protest peacefully our aim will be to balance that right with the rights of other people in the town.
‘The public should be assured that we have a great deal of experience dealing with protests and will use officers specially trained to deal with events of this nature.
He went on to echo Elphicke’s comments, saying that anyone planning to attend the protest should consider the risks posed by the virus.
The total number of migrants who have crossed the sea to Britain in 2020 is now more than 5,600.