Heavy police presence as ‘patriots’ halt traffic in Dover in protest against immigration

Around 50 people carrying England flags and banners saying ‘Stop the invasion’ and ‘Defend our borders’ stage demonstration

Tom Batchelor
Saturday 29 May 2021 16:15 BST
Anti-immigration protesters halt traffic at port of Dover

Police in riot gear have been stationed in Dover in large numbers after a group of anti-immigration protesters marched through the town.

Traffic leading to the ferry terminal was brought to a standstill on Saturday after around 50 people carrying England flags and banners saying “Stop the invasion” and “Defend our borders” demonstrated in the Kent port town.

The protest, reportedly organised by the Pembrokeshire Patriots group, was met with a heavy police presence. Photos taken at the march showed at least one person wearing a T-shirt branded with the group’s name.

Officers made one arrest, following a man past a fun fair before confronting him in a corner shop in the town and detaining him.

Around a dozen officers helped bring the man out of the store and into the back of a police van.

Police appeared to outnumber those marching but there were heated exchanges between a small group of counter-protesters and red flares were set off.

Anti-migrant protesters demonstrate in Dover

Demonstrators angry about the journeys made by refugees crossing the Channel were met with a heavy police presence

Roads were blocked during the march on Saturday

A woman airs her views in front of anti-migrant protesters in Dover

A man is detained by police during the march

Lorries were backed up along the A20 and were unable to reach Dover’s key trade terminal.

It comes after a protest last September saw anti-migrant protesters clash with riot officers and 10 people arrested.

Small numbers of people continue to make the journey across the English Channel from France, often fleeing war or extreme poverty, and having spent time living in what charities say are “unspeakable” conditions in Calais.

The number of people crossing the 21-mile stretch of water has almost doubled so far in 2021, with more than 3,100 reaching the English coast.

Charities argue asylum seekers have no choice but to attempt dangerous boat journeys because of a lack of legal alternatives and the drop in air, lorry and ferry traffic during coronavirus.

They say numbers crossing the Channel will not fall unless migrants are provided with safe alternatives.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, vowed to make Channel crossings “unviable” in August, but her pledge was followed by record numbers of arrivals, which have continued.

Labour has accused the government of lacking both “compassion and competence”.

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