Additional reporting by Sam Lennon
Four people were arrested after an anti-immigration march in Dover.
People started to gather at 1 p.m. on Union Street – away from the city train station where vans and police cars were waiting.
Protesters in the streets of Dover
Officers wearing riot gear, many from outside the county, gathered at the train station.
The protesters, numbering around 150 – although police gave the figure as 60 – quickly began to make their presence known.
Red smoke cartridges were set off as the march headed towards A20 Snargate Street where the group stayed for some time.
Protesters blocked the road for at least an hour, standing or sitting in the middle of the road.
They stayed there with the police who set up a roadblock rolling around the group.
A police spokesperson said: ‘Police officers from Kent attended the scene to ensure people could participate in a peaceful protest and to ensure that the impact on the community and local businesses was reduced to a minimum.
“Two people were arrested on suspicion of breaches of public order and two people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway. All four are still in detention.”
The town MP launched a scathing attack on the protesters, tweeting: “We don’t want them here.”
Natalie Elphicke, who represents Dover and Deal, said: “It’s time to stop the small boat crossings but today’s protesters are not welcome in Dover.
“There is no excuse for their disruption to commerce and our city.
“Time and time again we find that Protesters Day causes direct damage to someone else’s livelihood, tourism, business and commerce. It is neither fair nor fair.
“Kent police have had a rough year – from the French border closure on leaving the EU, to coronavirus lockdowns and the tragic death of PCSO Julia James.
“They deserved a real bank break this weekend – not sworn by loud protesters in London or Essex or elsewhere.”
A witness said: “Overall, the protest was largely peaceful with some tense moments.
“A woman was taken from the ground by officers but was not arrested. A man who appeared to be a veteran started yelling at the police and was gently pushed back – again it was nothing too much trouble. serious.
The man – estimated to be 60 – was treated by paramedics after collapsing in the street from heat exhaustion. He eventually regained his strength and was able to walk with the help of other protesters.
Flags of St George were fluttering, but none from far-right groups such as the National Front and the English Defense League.
There would have been no sign of the presence of these groups.
Likewise, no pro-migrant counter-demonstrator confronted them during the march.
Superintendent Andy Gadd said, “Today’s protest was held with minimal disruption to the local community.
“Four people have been arrested and our investigations into these incidents are continuing.
“I want to thank the local community and those traveling to the area for their patience and understanding as we strive to balance the rights of those taking part in the protest with those who live and work in Dover.
The ‘Defend Our Borders’ event was announced in advance by a group calling themselves the Pembrokeshire Patriots.
‘Brexit Brian’ explains why he attended the march
Its name derives from the use of a Welsh barracks – similar to Napier Barracks in Folkestone – to house those caught crossing the Channel.
The group refuses to be called the extreme right.
More information as we get it.
Read more: All the latest news from Dover