Six men charged with various offences after anti-migration protest

7 September 2020, 16:52

All six men have been bailed and will appear in court at a later date
All six men have been bailed and will appear in court at a later date. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Six men have been charged for various offences after taking part in an anti-migration protest in Dover.

Joe Wardle, 30, Paul Smith, 37, Nigel Marcham, 50, Ashley Parker, 28, Dave Goldsmith, 51, and Jason Heath, 31, have all been charged with offences ranging from obstructing a constable, to possession of class A and B substances.

They have also been released on bail and will appear in court at a later date.

Four other unnamed men, ranging in age from 42-58 years old, were arrested on suspicion of offences including assault and possession of an offensive weapon, but have been since been released on bail without charge.

READ MORE: David Lammy calls for British compassion for refugees and migrants

There were sporadic clashes between protesters and police
There were sporadic clashes between protesters and police. Picture: PA

The arrests were made following a series of demonstrations in Dover on Saturday, which saw protesters clash with police and brought a dual carriage way to a standstill.

Marching away from the seafront down the A20, there were sporadic moments of violence, and saw several officers in one incident trying to pin a person to the ground in restraint.

READ MORE: Fisherman explains why he helps migrants in Channel: "They're coming to better their lives"

Chief Superintendent Nigel Brookes said Kent Police had "made it very clear" that violence and disorder would not be tolerated, saying such behaviour came from "a minority".

He added: "Thankfully our experienced officers intervened quickly when offences were committed, sought to keep the transport routes moving and balance the rights of those taking part in the protests.

"We worked with partner agencies and were supported by a number of other forces, which helped keep the disruption on the day to a minimum.

READ MORE: Record-breaking number of migrants reach UK shores on Wednesday

"I would like to that those people living, visiting and working in Dover in their cooperation and patience."

Mr Brookes concluded by saying it was"unacceptable" to use such protests as an excuse for criminal behaviour, and vowed to use "the full force of the law" against those who had committed offences.

The demonstration in the Kent town was planned after a record was broken earlier in the week for the number of people to make the cross-Channel trip in a single day.

There were more that two dozen boats carrying 416 migrants across the stretch of water on Wednesday, meaning at least 5,600 people have made the same perilous journey this year alone.

READ MORE: Banksy funds boat to rescue refugees crossing the Mediterranean

The following day, a Home Affairs Committee conducted an inquiry into migrant crossings, in which suggestions were made that French politicians had spread a "false premise" that life in the UK would be easier for people to "live undercover".

Later that day, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government had "removed" 11 Syrians from the country after they arrived in the UK by boat.

They were eventually deported to Spain, where the Spanish authorities declined responsibility for them and they were left alone until an aid group came to help.

In response to the anti-migrant protest on Saturday, dozens of anti-racism activists also gathered to show solidarity with people making the journey by small boat across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Peter Keenan, from Kent Refugee Help, stressed to the crowd that when a country turns people away who are fleeing from war: "That says something about the state of your society".