Home Local News March in Dover, over asylum seekers, announced on Pembrokeshire Patriot Facebook page

March in Dover, over asylum seekers, announced on Pembrokeshire Patriot Facebook page

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Dover is braced for another demonstration over the issue of asylum seekers this weekend.

A group protesting against illegal immigration will march in the town from 1pm on Saturday.

The last immigration protest in Dover on September 5. Picture: Kevin Clark
The last immigration protest in Dover on September 5. Picture: Kevin Clark

It has not yet been confirmed where the route starts and ends, nor exactly how many demonstrators are expected.

This protest, also against the authorities’ present practice of bringing in asylum seekers to Dover from the Channel, has been advertised by a group called the Pembrokeshire Patriots.

The pressure group stems from the use of the former Penalty army barracks in the Welsh county, along with Napier Barracks in Folkestone, to house asylum seekers.

It refuses to be labelled as far right.

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire Patriots told Kent Online: “We are against the illegal migrants coming in as we don’t know where they are from – are they from war torn countries?

Demonstrators in Dover on September 5.Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Demonstrators in Dover on September 5.Picture: Barry Goodwin.

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

“We believe that they are not vetted properly.”

The group first announced the march at the end of April on its Facebook page Pembrokeshire Patriot but although it has not been made clear who the direct organisers are.

The protest this weekend is under the slogan “protect our borders.”

By today (Thursday) 32 people on the Facebook page confirmed themselves as going and 163 said they were interested.

Left wingers gathered in Folkestone Road, Dover, just before stones were thrown, January 30, 2016. Picture: Sam Lennon
Left wingers gathered in Folkestone Road, Dover, just before stones were thrown, January 30, 2016. Picture: Sam Lennon

Asylum seekers on small crafts on the Channel are regularly rescued by the Border Force and brought to Dover Western Docks before being interviewed and processed.

From this the town has regularly been a venue for demonstrations against illegal immigration and the present asylum system.

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

The ugliest ever occasion was on January 30, 2016, when clashes between the far right and pro-asylum seeker groups led to full scale rioting with stone and brick throwing from either side of Effingham Street. A total 64 people were convicted afterwards

A follow-up march that April 2 was tightly controlled by police who successfully kept both sides apart and only one missile was thrown.

The far right protestors escorted by the Police. on April 2, 2016. Picture: Alan Langley
The far right protestors escorted by the Police. on April 2, 2016. Picture: Alan Langley

The Deal pro-asylum seeker group Seeking Sanctuary has already condemned this weekend’s protest as “unhelpful,” saying it would inflame tensions.

Ben Bano, from the organisation, says it is not illegal to cross the Channel to claim asylum in the UK.

He added that with no safe and legal ways of claiming asylum in the UK, people were forced to use flimsy boats to make dangerous crossings and some of these have 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.

The Mercury asked Kent County Council if it was aware of the march route and if any road closures are planned on the day.

Kent Anti-Racism Network countered the march last September 5 with a solidarity stand in Market Square in support of asylum seekers.Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Kent Anti-Racism Network countered the march last September 5 with a solidarity stand in Market Square in support of asylum seekers.Picture: Barry Goodwin.

The authority referred us to Kent Police.

The force went no further than their statement put out when Kent Online first broke this story on May 14.

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

“We will liaise with organisers to make them aware of their duty to comply with relevant legislation, including rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Pembrokeshire Patriots have also not announced the exact march route when asked by Kent Online, nor detailed on its Facebook page.

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

Demonstrators have also gone along York Street and eastern Folkestone Road.

This is a direct link between the A20 and seafront and Dover Priory Station where many protesters first arrive in and finally leave.

Counter-demonstrators supporting asylum seekers often first gather in Market Square.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Deal Dover Folkestone Sam Lennon



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