Police have arrested four people at an anti-immigration protest in the port of Dover.
Oor 60 people gathered in the town centre and along the sea front on Saturday, Kent polisie gesê.
Two were arrested on suspicion of public order offences and two on suspicion of obstructing the highway, the force said in a statement.
The protest, which is understood to have dispersed by about 3.30pm, led to traffic disruption, with lorries forced to line up along the A20 as people blocked the route. Many protesters were carrying England flags, and some set off red flares as they marched towards the town amid a heavy police presence.
The MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, condemned the incident at the port, saying the protesters were “not welcome in Dover”.
Elphicke tweeted: “It’s time to stop the small boat crossings but today’s protesters are not welcome in Dover. There’s no excuse for their disruption to trade and to our town. Time and again we see that the protesters’ day out causes direct damage to someone else’s livelihood, tourism, business and trade. That’s not right or fair.”
The Conservative MP said Kent police had had a “challenging year”, listing border issues, policing during the pandemic and the killing of PCSO Julia James. Sy het bygevoeg: “They deserved a proper bank holiday break this weekend – not being sworn at by loud-mouthed protesters.”
Dover has frequently been targeted by anti-immigration protests in recent years, met 10 arrested last September in an anti-migrant demonstration at the port. The protest was attended by far-right supporters, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
In 2016, demonstrators from the National Front and the rightwing South East Alliance descended on the port town to protest against the arrival of immigrants.
While the home secretary, Priti Patel, has spent £33.6m on border controls in Calais and announced plans to crack down on smugglers, asylum seekers have spoken about how tighter border controls help smugglers become ever more powerful. People smuggling has became increasingly lucrative as security between the UK and Calais has increased.
Maya Konforti, secretary of L’Auberge des Migrants, gesê: “For years and years now it’s the same story on repeat: one way is blocked and another appears. Smugglers just keep outsmarting security.”
The number of people crossing the Channel has almost doubled so far in 2021, met meer as 3,100 reaching the UK coast.