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Old September 27th, 2014 #3
Bev
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Kent Police says the force is “prepared for a number of scenarios” ahead of the planned protest supported far right groups at the Port of Dover today.

A Facebook page called Support the Dover to Calais Truckers says drivers intend to use lorries to blockade the port tomorrow, a move that Kent Police says is illegal.

Police officers have been visiting the homes of organisers over the last few days which the group claims amounts to intimidation.

Supporters from a number of right wing groups have been recruited via social media

On its Facebook group it said it expects French drivers to travel over to join the protest tomorrow.

Groups including the National Front and the Scottish Defence League say they will be attending the event, which has been discussed on the far-right message board Storm Front.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Support the Dover to Calais Truckers said: “Tomorrow will see us prove all the doubters wrong with a lawful protest with no abusive language and no drunken yobs and then we expect a full apology or we will be taking our next protest to people’s front doors.”

"It’s unclear who is organising the protest – there is only the facebook page to go by and some of the comments are by people who are clearly not lorry drivers" - Natalie Chapman, FTA spokesman

Left wing groups are planning a counter demonstration in Dover, with many organisations signed up to attend.

Both sides are planning marches through the town.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said no recognised trade groups support or endorse the blockade.

Natalie Chapman, FTA south east spokesman, said: "It’s unclear who is organising the protest – there is only the facebook page to go by and some of the comments are by people who are clearly not lorry drivers.

"Certainly if you look at some of the comments there are some very strong views about immigration and perhaps there are some people who are hijacking this situation and are not representative of lorry drivers.

However, the FTA said drivers' frustrations were real, with many feeling it is they who bear the brunt of the problems in Calais.

Ms Chapman said: "Many drivers feel they are being made scapegoats in this situation with some even having to take out personal loans to pay fines – we understand their frustrations.

"But we don’t think blockading the Port of Dover is the Way to go. It will cause huge inconvenience to other lorry drivers on their way home and others driver’s trying to cross the channel."

A man claiming to be one of the organisers said it would be a peaceful protest and he hoped no-one will be arrested.

Kevin, who would only give his first name, said: “It is a family event, there will be stewards there, so anyone acting inappropriately will be asked to leave.”

Kevin said he stopped crossing the Channel at the port nine months ago as he began fearing for his safety.

“I stopped because of the pressure, they jump on with knives, it is beyond the joke," he said.

“I just hope the MP and transport ministers do deal with the situation in France, they are having a terrible time themselves.

“Someone will end up getting killed."

Kent Police has been monitoring social media and planning its response to the protest.


The Port of Dover said it was aware of the nature of the protest.

In a statement it said: “We are aware of the potential protest planned for this Saturday under the banner of supporting the truckers and we are in close liaison with our partners about this issue.

"Our primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of our customers and community and keeping the port and its operations open.

"Over the next few days we will be monitoring the situation to ensure that we can deal with any planned protests in the safest and most constructive way.”

Kent Police’s Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley said: “As part of the force's preparations, officers are actively engaging with the protestors via social media.

“The primary role of Kent Police is to facilitate lawful peaceful protest, whilst ensuring public safety, and we would encourage organisers to work with Kent Police Protest Liaison Officers. They can be contacted on 07989 992 194.

“Kent Police will have officers and support elements on duty at the weekend to reassure residents of, and visitors to, Dover and resources will be deployed as necessary and appropriate.

“In the meantime, we are engaging with the ports and other relevant agencies in our efforts to ensure the facilitation of both the right to peacefully protest and people's right to go about their daily business unimpeded.”
ht tp://w ww.kentonline.co.uk/dover/news/kent-police-port-will-remain-24174/
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