Published: 14:34, 05 September 2019
| Updated: 14:52, 09 September 2019
Two rival political groups involved in a violent incident next to a Marks & Spencer car park in affluent Sevenoaks were behaving like "football hooligans", it has been alleged.
The incident happened in April last year on a Sunday evening at Bligh's Meadow shopping centre and "undoubtedly frightened" people "going about their lawful business", Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Patrick Dennis told the jury: "This was a wholly unsavoury, unnecessary and unlawful incident. They were acting like football hooligans.
"One side was a right-wing group called Generation Identity. On the other was a left-wing group called Antifa. All these defendants were with the right-wing group.
"The prosecution case is that both sides were equally responsible for the violence used, in short there was unlawful violence used on both sides including by these three
Dale Lutton, 26, from Portadown, Northern Ireland; Deirdre McTucker, 41, from Dublin, Ireland; and Nikolay Atanasov, 34, from London have denied charges of violent disorder.
Mr Dennis told the jury: "The prosecution make it clear from the outset this trial is not about the rights and wrongs of these respective political causes.
"What this case is about is whether the violence used by these three defendants was unlawful. The prosecution case is that people involved in this violence weren’t acting as lawful political demonstrators or campaigners, they were acting like football hooligans. "
He told the court that Generation Identity were holding a conference and initially planned to have it in London.
But when they learnt Antifa were intending to attend to protest, the group then moved the conference to the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks.
Mr Dennis said Antifa found out about this and went to the town and the two groups clashed.
"There is no doubt that unlawful violence took place in this car park. Footage shows members of both groups engaging in hand to hand combat.
"There can be no doubt that ordinary members of the public were frightened by what they witnessed."
He said that one man, Peter Haig, was shopping with his family later told police he was "frightened for his and his family's safety".
The trial continues.
More by this authorPaul Hooper