Anti-immigration protesters clash with police in Dover

5 September 2020, 13:09 | Updated: 5 September 2020, 16:24

Protesters talk with Police as the demonstration continues
Protesters talk with Police as the demonstration continues. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

Anti-immigration protesters have clashed with police as the demonstrate against thousands of migrants reaching the UK in small boats.

The group gathered in Dover as a record high of 409 desperate migrants made the dangerous crossing across the English Channel this week.

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.

Several officers were seen restraining one person on the ground, who has now been arrested.

At least 40 officers are at the scene by the A20, which remains blocked in both directions. Police are in the process of moving protesters along the road in the direction of the town centre.

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.

Protesters gather in Dover
Protesters gather in Dover. Picture: PA
There is a heavy police presence in Dover
There is a heavy police presence in Dover. Picture: PA

It comes despite pleas from local MP Natalie Elphicke to "stay away" to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.

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 cohort of officers on horseback are among those monitoring the situation.

Pro-migrant activists gathered in Market Square in a demonstration organised by Kent Anti Racism Network.

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."

Pro-migrant demonstrators also gathered in Dover
Pro-migrant demonstrators also gathered in Dover. Picture: PA
Up to 5,600 migrants are thought to have crossed the channel this year
Up to 5,600 migrants are thought to have crossed the channel this year. Picture: PA

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."

The total number of migrants who have crossed the sea to Britain in 2020 is now more than 5,600, analysis shows.