Traffic was halted in the bustling port of Dover as anti-immigration protesters marched to oppose migrant crossings.

Trucks were forced to line up along the A20, unable to reach Dover’s main trade terminal, as protesters armed with smoke flares blocked the route to major trade terminals on Saturday afternoon.

There have been sporadic clashes with police and several arrests have been made, according to the PA news agency.

A strong police presence was in place at the port of Kent, which has experienced violent unrest in the past.

About 50 people, many carrying English flags, marched along the dual carriageway into town amid a heavy police presence.

There were chants of “English streets” from the small group of mostly men, many of whom had traveled from outside the area.

A protester, lying on the tarmac in front of the police, said: “If you can’t go abroad, lie on the street in Dover.”

At one point, a woman walked into the group of anti-immigration protesters to loudly confront them and was greeted with screams.

Kent Police said four people were arrested, two on suspicion of public order violations and two on suspicion of obstruction of the highway.

Officers were seen chasing a man through town and past a busy fun fair before detaining him in a store.

The demonstrators had dispersed widely around 3:30 p.m.

Dover – one of the UK’s most important trade links with mainland Europe – has been the target of anti-immigration protests in previous years.

A protest last September saw anti-migrant protesters halt traffic in the similarly busy port amid sporadic clashes with riot officers.

The 2020 protests – carried out in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic – saw 10 people arrested.

In 2016, bricks and smoke bombs were thrown amid violent scenes in the port city as officers in riot gear and dog handlers struggled to maintain order.

During the incident, demonstrators waving flags of the National Front and the right-wing Southeast Alliance marched to protest the arrival of immigrants.

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