Dover is preparing for another protest over the issue of asylum seekers this weekend.

A protest group against illegal immigration will march through the city on Saturday from 1 p.m.

The last immigration protest in Dover on September 5, with a heavy police presence on York Street. Photo: Kevin Clark

It has not yet been confirmed where the trail begins and ends, or exactly how many protesters are expected.

The protest, also against the authorities’ current practice of bringing asylum seekers to Dover from the English Channel, was announced by a group called the Pembrokeshire Patriots.

The lobby group stems from the use of the former prison army barracks in the Welsh county, as well as the Napier barracks in Folkestone, to house asylum seekers.

He refuses to be called the extreme right.

A spokesperson for the Pembrokeshire Patriots told KentOnline: “We are against the arrival of illegal migrants because we don’t know where they are coming from – are they from war-torn countries?

Protesters in Dover on September 5 Photo: Barry Goodwin.
Protesters in Dover on September 5 Photo: Barry Goodwin.

“We don’t know their background – are they criminals?

“We believe they are not properly controlled.”

The group first announced the march in late April on their Pembrokeshire Patriot Facebook page, although it was not specified who the real organizers are.

This weekend’s demonstration is under the slogan “Protect our borders”.

Today (Thursday) 32 people on the Facebook page confirmed their participation and 163 said they were interested.

Left wingers gathered at Folkestone Road, Dover, just before stones were thrown on January 30, 2016. Photo: Sam Lennon
Left wingers gathered at Folkestone Road, Dover, just before stones were thrown on January 30, 2016. Photo: Sam Lennon

Asylum seekers on small boats on the English Channel are regularly rescued by border forces and brought to Dover Western Docks before being questioned and treated.

From there, the city has regularly been a place of protests against illegal immigration and the current asylum system.

The last such march was on September 5, but previous ones have involved far-right groups such as the National Front and the English Defense League.

The ugliest was on January 30, 2016, when clashes between the far right and groups of asylum seekers led to large-scale riots with stones and bricks being thrown on either side of Effingham Street. A total of 64 people were subsequently sentenced.

A follow-up march that took place on April 2 was tightly controlled by police who managed to separate the two sides and only one missile was launched.

Far-right protesters escorted by police.  on April 2, 2016. Photo: Alan Langley
Far-right protesters escorted by police. on April 2, 2016. Photo: Alan Langley

Deal’s group of asylum seekers, Seeking Sanctuary, has previously condemned the weekend’s protest as “unnecessary”, saying it would escalate tensions.

Ben Bano, of the organization, says it is not illegal to cross the Channel to seek asylum in the UK.

He added that in the absence of safe and legal means to seek asylum in the UK, people were forced to use fragile boats to make dangerous crossings and some of them led to tragedies.

For example, last October four asylum seekers, including two children aged eight and five, were confirmed dead when their boat capsized off Dunkirk.

KentOnline asked Kent County Council if they were aware of the route of the walk and if any road closures were planned that day.

The Kent Anti-Racism Network countered the march on September 5 by organizing a solidarity stand in the marketplace to support asylum seekers.Photo: Barry Goodwin.
The Kent Anti-Racism Network countered the march on September 5 by organizing a solidarity stand in the marketplace to support asylum seekers.Photo: Barry Goodwin.

Authority referred us to Kent Police.

The force did not go further than their statement released when KentOnline first unveiled this story on May 14.

Chief Inspector Daniel Carter, Dover District Commander, then said: “Kent Police are aware of potential plans for an event in Dover on Saturday 29 May.

“We will approach the organizers to inform them of their duty to comply with relevant legislation, including rules aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.”

The Pembrokeshire Patriots have also not announced the exact route of the on-demand walk from Kent Online, nor detailed on its Facebook page.

But past protests of this type tend to be on the A20 between Dover Eastern and Western Docks.

Protesters also roamed York Street and east of Folkestone Road.

It is a direct link between the A20 and the seafront and the Priory of Dover station where many demonstrators arrive for the first time and leave.

Counter-protesters supporting asylum seekers often gather in the market square first.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover



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