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Police have arrested several people in Dover during protests by far-right East Kent Alliance and rival group Kent Anti Racism Network

Thirteen people have been arrested during a planned march involving rival groups in Dover.

Extra police officers, including some on horses, were in the town amid fears of a repeat of the violent clashes seen there earlier this year.

A similar demo by the far-right East Kent Alliance and a counter protest from Kent Anti Racism Network caused a day of chaos on Saturday, January 30.

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Officers used temporary powers to stop and search people and vehicles for offensive weapons and dangerous instruments.

One man was arrested on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons. Three men who arrived in Dover were arrested in connection with the previous protest.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Neil Jerome said: “Kent Police planned for a proportionate policing operation that was impartial, firm and fair, and all the objectives we set, were met successfully.

“As I made clear in the run up to the events today, the right to protest inevitably causes disruption to the community. That is largely unavoidable – we do all we can to minimise that disruption.

“I fully appreciate the frustration caused when a road is closed. This decision is not made lightly and only after consulting with Highways England and Kent County Council. It was necessary, to allow us to facilitate the protest and ensure the safety of both motorists and protesters.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and co-operation.”

Anti fascists moved along roads in the town following a convoy of aid to the port.

They chanted that refugees are welcome here. Shouting 'Theresa May, hear us say, let them in, and let them stay'.

There was a very strong police presence with officers walking by the side of the group while four horses remained at the back of the crowd.

Some demonstrators held posters saying 'no to racism' and welcoming refugees.

VIDEO: Rival protesters crowd streets of Dover, leading to eight arrests.

Anti fascists hired a van to take goods for refugees from Dover to Calais.

Earlier in the day it was parked in Market Square where it was decorated with posters and tinsel.

Barclays Bank was closed despite police's recommendation to stay open.

VIDEO: Far-right East Kent Alliance member gives anti-migrant speech - contains strong language

Police also escorted far-right protestors through the town towards the port.

They passed the garage on Folkestone Road, the scene of violent clashes during a similar protest in January.

Far-right protestors march towards the port of Dover
Far-right protestors march towards the port of Dover

Police kept rival groups apart as they gathered near to the port.

The A20 Townwall Street was closed for a time due to the demonstration between the A20 York Street and the A2 Jubilee Way.

Police keep rival groups apart at a protest in Dover
Police keep rival groups apart at a protest in Dover
Officers intend to separate the rival factions
Officers intend to separate the rival factions

KM reporter Sam Lennon spent the day in the town, he said: "Words of abuse were hurled between far right and anti-fascist protesters in Dover but only one brick this time.

"Police successfully kept the two sides apart when they came to the town after January's pitched battles.

"This time the two sides faced each other on just two brief occasions, when the far right passed Townwall Street near the Premier Inn and the left wing waited on the seafront side for them. "But they were kept apart by a wall of police vans and a thick line of officers.

"When the far right marched past, their opponents chanted, 'Nazi scum off our streets' - members of the far right replied with taunts such 'traitors' swear words and one and two fingered salutes.

"Dover had been tightly controlled by police with a heavy presence of officers, mounted police and large mobile barriers in narrow passages such as New Street and Worthington Street."

Kent Police says lessons have been learnt from events in January.

Neil Jerome, assistant chief constable, said: “We are putting in a comprehensive policing operation but what I can’t guarantee is that there will not be any trouble.

“Based on the information we have, and the lessons learned from last time, there will be significantly more police officers in Dover."

However, he has urged residents to carry our their business as normal.

He said: “It is safe to say there will be disruption in the town which, even with all the plans in place, cannot be completely avoided.

"We believe that if people are warned in advance, they can make arrangements to avoid getting caught up in the protest and go about their business.

“Our policing operation is intelligence-led, based on the best information available to us.

"However, due to the nature of these protests, it is impossible to know exactly how many people are going to be involved or how they will behave.

"We know from the previous protest there is a potential for a minority of those attending to cause significant disruption and behave in a disorderly and sometimes violent way.”

Almost 40 people have now been arrested in connection to the events on January 30, and 17 were arrested on the day.

So far, 16 people have been charged with a variety of offences and 21 are on bail with conditions not to enter Dover.

Police form a human barrier at the previous protest
Police form a human barrier at the previous protest

Officers have also imposed conditions on organisers and protesters in terms of the route and timing of the march and the assembly point for opposing protesters.

They will use powers to stop and search people or vehicles for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments and those with face coverings may be asked to remove them if it is believed they are wearing them to conceal their identity.

Many residents in the town have called on the police to ban these future protests, after tax payers had to pick up the bill for the destruction in January.

However, an independent report has found Kent Police’s actions in Dover were ‘proportionate’, ‘justifiable’ and ‘appropriate’.

Chief Supt Neil Jerome
Chief Supt Neil Jerome

The review, carried out by NPoCC Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sheed, found that ‘to ban the march or impose conditions would have been inappropriate’ and that while ‘there were some areas that could be improved on’ the operation was ‘effective and well led.’

The review was published by police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes, who said: “I know the force has taken the observations and recommendations on board when planning for demonstrations this weekend.

"Kent Police has a duty to facilitate peaceful protest but to anyone intent on coming to Kent to cause trouble I have one simple message – don’t bother. You are not welcome here.”

Protests resulted in violence
Protests resulted in violence

Another protest is planned for Saturday, April 23, and may also require the temporary closure of the A20.

Drivers are advised to plan their journeys and allow additional time if required.

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