England123
  • 2 April 2016
  • From the section Kent
Image caption Kent Police said it was impartial and wanted to minimise disruption

Thirteen people have been arrested in Dover amid concern an immigration protest and counter demonstration could turn violent.

Kent Police “significantly” increased its presence in an attempt to prevent a repeat of January’s clashes.

Officers lined the streets as anti-immigration groups followed a planned route.

Eight people were arrested after they left a designated assembly area and blocked the route, police said.

There were loud chants and tense exchanges through a wall of police, who prevented the two opposing groups from meeting.

One man was detained on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons and another on suspicion of theft of a police baseball cap.

Three further people were arrested after they were identified as people the police were looking for in connection with the violent protest on 30 January.

Image caption Anti-immigration protesters banged drums and chanted slogans as they moved through town

Before the march, Kent Police said: “We respect anyone’s right to protest peacefully – we are impartial and are working with all involved to minimise disruption.”

On Friday it warned: “Those who choose to act in a violent, threatening or disorderly manner… will be held to account for their actions.”

As the march set off, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke said it was “appalling” the town was so disrupted.

He added: “These people are not welcome, they don’t come here with any good intent and the law should be changed so that they can be removed more forcibly.”

But afterwards he praised police action saying it had been “proportionate, appropriate and very effective in preventing disorder”.

‘Alternative vision’

Image copyright Global Justice Now / Jess Hurd

Image caption Groups sympathetic to the plight of refugees sought to project an alternative message

In anticipation of the march, the group Global Justice Now, working with “guerrilla” projectionists Feral X, lit up the cliffs with the words “Refugees welcome” on Friday.

The group said thousands of people across the UK were working to support refugees who had fled desperate circumstances.

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