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Cops clash with anti-migrant protesters blocking A20 in Dover as 100 turn out for demonstration

COPS today clashed with anti-migrant protesters in Dover, who blocked the A20.

Around 100 anti-migrant protesters and 50 police officers turned up for the demonstration outside Dover harbour this afternoon.

They were protesting against the arrival of thousands of migrants in small boats in recent weeks.

Traffic on the A20 was at a standstill in both directions after protesters assembled on the road in large numbers.

Many wore Union Jack flag face masks and waved the England flag. Some shouted "England 'til I die" and sang Rule Britannia.

At one point, several officers were seen restraining a person on the ground.

The individual was later arrested, police confirmed.

It is thought that the groups had travelled to Dover from across the country.

Meanwhile, pro-migrant activists gathered in Market Square nearby, in a counter demonstration organised by Kent Anti Racism Network.

They held signs which read "welcome" and "we stand with you".

Addressing a crowd of about 100, Peter Keenan from Kent Refugee Help said when society sees people who are fleeing war and turns them away "that says something about the state of your society".

He continued: "We are not those people. We are standing up and welcoming people who are in desperate circumstances fleeing from awful situations."

The scenes come despite pleas from local MP Natalie Elphicke to "stay away" to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.

They follow a projection of the words "Rise above fear. Refugees welcome" which were beamed onto the White Cliffs of Dover by humanitarian charity Freedom From Torture on Friday night.

Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate had raised concerns in advance of the event that violence would come – and that splintered parts of the British far-right may travel to Dover.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Brookes from Kent Police said: "As a force, it is our responsibility to facilitate peaceful protests, however we will not tolerate violence or disorder.

"Anyone planning to visit Dover with the intention of committing offences should be aware they are not welcome here and that we will seek to prosecute anyone who breaks the law."

The total number of migrants who have crossed the sea to Britain in 2020 is now more than 5,600.

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