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Live: Demonstration in Dover brings fears of clash with far-right groups


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Crowds gathered in Dover today amid fears there could be confrontations with far-right groups on the streets.

KentOnline reporter Ollie Kemp is in the town and will keep us updated throughout the day.

Heavy police presence in Dover. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Heavy police presence in Dover. Picture: Oliver Kemp

3.10pm

Police confirm it looks as though the protesters have started to depart.

Traffic was said to be returning to normal after the roads had previously been blocked.

2.50pm

Footage from earlier this afternoon taken by the KM's Barry Goodwin shows a man being detained by officers.

A man on a loud hailer can be heard saying "Don't push me, don't touch me, I'm allowed to be here".

2.30pm

Now the line of officers has reached Dover Priory station, it appears a large portion of the crowd has dispersed.

Around 30 people remain standing across from the line of police, with many of those involved on the A20 nowhere to be seen.

The crowds reach Priory Station. Picture: Oliver Kemp
The crowds reach Priory Station. Picture: Oliver Kemp

2.20pm

The group are now being herded along Folkestone road towards the station.

Folkestone Road, Dover this afternoon at 2.20pm. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Folkestone Road, Dover this afternoon at 2.20pm. Picture: Oliver Kemp

2.15pm

People have made their way to York Street, flanked by police.

Mounted officers make their way through the crowds, as a growing group gathers outside the Golden Lion Pub.

York Street roundabout. Picture: Oliver Kemp
York Street roundabout. Picture: Oliver Kemp
People look on at the protests. Picture: Oliver Kemp
People look on at the protests. Picture: Oliver Kemp

2pm

After standing around for half hour, the majority of the protesters are making their way up York Street.

One person screamed abuse as he walked past two officers.

A man who travelled down from Essex for today's protest laughed and told the police that it was 'just banter'.

A man holds a flag. Picture: Oliver Kemp (41975983)
A man holds a flag. Picture: Oliver Kemp (41975983)

1.50pm

A picture has emerged of another protester - with a ripped shirt - being detained by officers wearing masks.

Police detain another protester. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Police detain another protester. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Police speak with a protester. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Police speak with a protester. Picture: Oliver Kemp

1.30pm

Officers have blocked the A20 down towards the Eastern Docks and it looks as if they are trying to direct the crowd up York Street in the direction of the railway station.

For now crowds are crawling towards the blocked road, with shouts of 'hold the line' coming from the most vocal attendees.

The Little Veteran has told protesters that they will be staying put, despite police slowly pushing them back.

Police attempt to re-direct the march. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Police attempt to re-direct the march. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Crowds on the A20 heading towards the docks. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Crowds on the A20 heading towards the docks. Picture: Oliver Kemp
The Little Veteran addresses crowds in Dover during the protest. Picture: Oliver Kemp
The Little Veteran addresses crowds in Dover during the protest. Picture: Oliver Kemp

1.20pm

Police say the A20 is blocked near the junction with York Street as they try to 'minimise disruption'.

1.15pm

Despite the few clashes between police, the Little Veteran has shouted on multiple occasions to attendees that this is a peaceful protest.

Upwards of a hundred protesters are chanting "shame on you" to the kettle line of officers after a handful of people told them to take the knee for veterans.

Chants of "Rule Britannia" continue as police push the group back.

People line the streets during the march. Picture: Oliver Kemp
People line the streets during the march. Picture: Oliver Kemp

1.05pm

The march is under way on the A20 carriageway towards the town centre.

The front of the group have banners reading 'How many illegal immigrants are terrorists' and '4,200 homeless veterans abandoned'.

One man began the chant of 'Three German bombers' before spluttering towards the end, saying to the woman beside him 'that's what drink will do to you'

The march is underway on the A20 carriageway towards the town centre. Picture: Oliver Kemp (41974474)
The march is underway on the A20 carriageway towards the town centre. Picture: Oliver Kemp (41974474)

1pm

Some individuals are getting combative with officers as Oliver's video shows - as another person is detained.

12.50pm

More pictures of the disturbance on the A20 have been sent through by our reporter on the scene, as police attempt to keep traffic moving - following the start of a 'go slow'.

Protestes have taken over the A20. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Protestes have taken over the A20. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Officers are trying to keep traffic moving. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Officers are trying to keep traffic moving. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Protesters in the road. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Protesters in the road. Picture: Oliver Kemp
A man waves his flag. Picture: Oliver Kemp
A man waves his flag. Picture: Oliver Kemp

12.45pm

Police are settling the crowd as they march through the centre of the carraigeway of the A20, as officers attempt to let traffic trickle past the group.

Upwards of 40 officers are part of the decisive push to move them back towards the town centre.

12.40pm

Traffic on both carriageways is now at a complete standstill on the A20 as nationalist tempers begin to rise.

Officers detained one protester as vehicles parked across both carriageways, leaving a snaking queue of traffic on both sides.

Protesters on both sides of the road are chanting, led by the megaphone of the 'Little Veteran'.

A man has been detained by police. Picture: Oliver Kemp
A man has been detained by police. Picture: Oliver Kemp
More scenes from Dover today. Picture: Oliver Kemp
More scenes from Dover today. Picture: Oliver Kemp

12.30pm

Traffic is being held up by a handful of vehicles on the A20 towards Dover Marina, as the 'Little Veteran' continues to call for a 'go slow'.

12.15pm

Although officers are focusing their presence around the anti-racist protesters in Market Sqaure, so far all is relatively quiet.

One officer said they had been told a large number of nationalist protesters were expected, but looked surprised at the lack of people.

Meanwhile on Dover road, a far right YouTuber calling himself the 'Little Veteran' is leading a handful of nationalist protesters past the traffic trying to instigate a 'go slow'.

His YouTube channel has more than 5,000 subscribers.

At 9am this morning, he put up two videos asking his followers making their way to Dover to meet on the A20, holding up the traffic on both carriageways as part of their protest.

In a video posted to his YouTube channel yesterday, the Little Veteran said: "The times are changing in this country, and it starts tomorrow."

He added: "This is the day we're fighting and we're not moving backwards."

Despite this, he told his followers not to incite violence because "it'll go against us" and that if you're racist "don't turn up."

One protester lingering at the back of the small crowd said she hopes more will join later.

Right wing protesters in Dover today. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Right wing protesters in Dover today. Picture: Oliver Kemp

11.45am

Around 100 people have now gathered in Market Sq for the anti-racist demonstration, flanked on all sides by officers.

Mounted officers are patrolling the area, but so far neither groups have come into large-scale contact with one another.

Joe Burman, one of the organisers and part of the Kent Anti-Racism Network has been pleased with the atmosphere so far.

He said: "it's quite a nice atmosphere - we've got a really sunny day, a nice healthy gathering of local people, and it's a really positive day so far."

Protestors in Dover
Protestors in Dover

Business owners on the high street remain cautious, stood at the premises doors as people trickle through towards Market Square.

Dave Robinson, who is due to open Vinoteq Wine, a wine bar on the high street next month, woke up to find anti-migration posters smeared across his windows.

He believes a group of nationalists came by the premises yesterday evening to paste them on the shop front.

Dave Robinson outside his defaced shop window
Dave Robinson outside his defaced shop window

He said: "We've tried to take off as much of it as we can but it's going to take us an age to get rid of all the chemicals they've used to stick them on."

Mr Robinson hopes the heavy police presence will keep both groups apart, and things won't degenerate to the 2016 levels of violence.

11.40am

11.25am

11.15am

The march has begun - and there are far-right groups in the town.

The mayor of Folkestone, Michelle Keutenius, took the microphone to address the anti-racist crowd just after 11am.

She shouted: "I am the mayor of Folkestone and I'm here to support a proud tradition - Folkestone welcomes refugees."

A handful of dissenters gathered at the back of the crowd heckling the mayor as she made her speech.

Protestors are gathering in the town as tensions rise. Picture: Oliver Kemp
Protestors are gathering in the town as tensions rise. Picture: Oliver Kemp

There is a heavy police presence across the square, with around 20 officers and four police vehicles keeping an eye on proceedings.

Meanwhile at Dover Priory station, nationalist protesters begin to gather in groups.

One group stand on Folkestone Road posing for photographs, raising a banner identifying them as the 'Chelsea Headhunters.' Another phrase printed across the flag is 'Smash Antifa.'

Antifa is a left-wing anti-fascist movement.

The Chelsea Headhunters have arrived. Picture: Oliver Kemp
The Chelsea Headhunters have arrived. Picture: Oliver Kemp

10.50am

Crowds are beginning to gather in Dover this morning - and there's a very heavy police presence.

So what is causing today's demonstrations?

The Kent Anti-Racism Network (KARN) has planned a 'solidarity stand' in Market Square at 11am, to show support for those seeking asylum in the UK and fleeing their war-torn home countries.

The event, called 'We Stand With You', was organised following the death of Sudanese man Abdulfatah Hamdallah in August.

The far right protestors in Dover in 2016. Picture: Alan Langley
The far right protestors in Dover in 2016. Picture: Alan Langley

But nationalist groups have vowed to hold their own anti-migration demonstration - stoking fears of a repeat of trouble in 2016 when opposing sides clashed in violent scenes.

It comes against a back-drop of an increase in Channel crossings, as people seeking asylum make the perilous journey across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes to forge new lives for themselves and their families.

On Wednesday more than 400 people made their way to Kent's shores on flimsy craft, the highest number in a single day.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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