‘Anti-migrant’ and so called ‘anti-fascist’ groups have clashed in Dover today, as both are staging simultaneous protests in the Kent coastal town. Labour MP Diane Abbott has attended the demonstration, joining forces with communists and socialists from across Europe in calling for open borders.
The event was originally planned as a rally to ‘Support the Dover to Calais Truckers,’ following numerous reports of cross continental drivers being attacked passing through the French port. However, the rally was seized on by numerous right and left wing groups. The Kent anti-fascist network, joined by supporters from across the country including gay rights activists, marched through the town this morning, starting in Market Square at 11am. Right wing groups were due to march in a counter-protest at 2pm from Dover Priory rail station.
However the two groups had already clashed, with one altercation taking place at a service station on the M20 outside Maidstone, forcing the facility to close. Coach-loads of both groups pulled into the services and attacked each other’s coaches. Windows were smashed and a swastika was daubed on the left-wingers’ bus.
— Suz Elvey (@SuzElvey) January 30, 2016
— bat020 (@bat020) January 30, 2016
A left-wing protestor, 44 year old Anindya Bhattacharyya from Whitechapel told The Guardian:
“The service station staff bolted the doors and through the windows we could see a large group of fascists. They were wearing Combat 18 T-shirts and one had an Enoch Powell T-shirt.
“They were running at the anti-fascist demonstrators and there was some argy-bargy, things were chucked back and forth. And then the anti-fascists went back to their coaches and the group of fascists basically tooled up with bits of wood and bins.
“They attacked one of our coaches and smashed up the windows and one of them came and daubed a swastika in blood on the side of one of the coaches.”
Inside the town the left wing protestors chanted “Nazi scum off our streets”, some dressed in black with their faces obscured. Missiles were also thrown at the anti-migrant protestors, apparently by locals who are sympathetic to the left wing protestors.
— RJ udunno (@righteousxRJ) January 30, 2016
— th anonymous (@ori_no_co) January 30, 2016
— LGSMigrants (@lgsmigrants) January 30, 2016
— Miss Duffy (@misscheeky666) January 30, 2016
protest at dover about refugees – why are old people supporting refugees throwing missiles at those protesting against ? weird messed up
— halfcentury storm (@13thstorm) January 30, 2016
Kent Police, who had posted extra officers to the town in preparation for the demonstrations, attempted to kettle the left wing protestors, but reportedly failed to do so.
A spokesman for Kent Police said beforehand: “Extra officers will be in Dover to facilitate a peaceful protest and minimise disruption to the community.
“The policing plan to based on an assessment of all known information and will be proportionate to any of the risks identified.”
— th anonymous (@ori_no_co) January 30, 2016
— James Larkin RFB (@JLRFB) January 30, 2016
Support for the left wing protestors has poured in via social media from Britain and across Europe. Socialists and no borders activists from the Jungle in Calais added their voices to those from the rest of France, Spain, Germany and beyond.
Solidarity and love to friends and comrades in Dover!
— König der Narren (@KotzenderStern) January 30, 2016
— QELD (@theqeld) January 30, 2016
— Random Heroe (@Random_Heroe) January 30, 2016
Labour Member of Parliament Diane Abbott, the current Shadow Secretary of State for International Development has also appeared at the rally, travelling down from her Hackney constituency in solidarity with the left wing protestors.
Addressing the crowd, she told the protestors: “migrants have helped build this country … we cannot let the fascists divide us!”
However, her presence was criticised by some on social media who called her a hypocrite.
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) January 30, 2016
— Barney Benton (@BarneyBenton3) January 30, 2016
— trevor humphris (@thumphris) January 30, 2016
— Connor Macleod (@fat2fitherts) January 30, 2016
The scenes in Dover today may be repeated in the months ahead as support for anti-migrant groups broadens. Next Saturday will see the first march by Pegida UK, in Birmingham. The rally is being held on the same day as Pegida groups across Europe march against the creeping Islamisation of Europe and in protest against open doors migration policies. However they are likely to be heavily opposed by left wing ‘anti-fascist’ groups.