The far-right campaign group Support the Calais Truckers (SCT) mounted a second attempt to blockade the port of Dover yesterday, but spent most of the day being hassled and attacked by anti-fascists as cops tried to get in between the warring sides.
Ostensibly, the SCT exist to demonstrate against rules that mean truckers can be fined when an illegal immigrant tries to smuggle themselves into the UK in the back of their lorries. But what they really do is serve as a platform for far-right idiots, neo-Nazis and fascists. In the build up to yesterday's demo, they said they were looking forward to "more support" than they got at their last demo. Instead, fewer people turned up. They managed to bring half a road to a standstill for about 30 minutes.
In October, the group tried and failed to block the A20, a road going towards the docks and Calais, annoying many of the truckers whose rights they claim to be fighting for. Sunday was much the same, except this time Nick Griffin didn't show up to make a weird speech comparing the protesters to latter-day ancient Celts defending the island from Romans.
Upon arriving at the Castle Pub, where the far-right was gathering, it became clear that it wasn't going to be plain sailing for them. At first all I could see were police and the anti-fascist demonstrators. There were so many police vans, a woman who lived up the road said she thought it was a police convention. At one point some of the fascists took refuge on the pub's roof, outnumbered by anti-fascists.
An old man called Mike, standing by the door of the pub, was happy to talk to me about why he was there. Mike told me he's an organiser for the National Front – a far-right organisation that has a white-only membership policy. "There's a huge influx of people invading the country," he told me. "They have lots of weasle words, calling them asylum seekers, immigrants, Muslims. What they are is invaders." He had a Werther's Originals voice but talked like Rudolph Hess.
After a while, Mike's mates filed out of the pub and into the street. There was a long stand-off between the fascists and anti-fascists that got eerily quiet every now and then, when people weren't shouting insults at each other. The police stood between the two groups. "Nice example of the master race, aren't you? We've got nothing to worry about if you're defending us," an anti-fascist shouted across the police line.
The staring and swearing match was broken when two guys from opposing sides started going at each other and the police got in between them.
I wasn't having much luck with the anti-fascists, who didn't want to talk to journalists, until I met "D", a sunglasses-wearing guy who explained that their demos are simply a reaction to the fascist ones. "If there was none of them, there wouldn't be any of us," he said. "You can fight fascism with a pen. There are plenty of people doing it online with a pen, we need some people doing it here with the sword."
The solution, D says, is to do away with borders completely. "Just free movement within Europe," he added. "The British seem to be able to go anywhere in the world because they're liked, because they're white."
There was another stand-off soon after the march started, with anti-fascists linking arms to block it. This was followed by a spell of stone throwing. The result was that one side of the A20 was blocked – the side that leads out of the country and presumably the road SCT wants immigrants to take.
The two sides then got into a scuffle on the promenade, while confused locals looked on in their waterproofs. One fascist was knocked to the floor and anti-fascists gave him a kicking until his mates picked him up and the police jumped in.
The chase continued towards the docks. Cars and lorries coming into the country being greeted by what looked like a really violent amateur parkour club, as people vaulted traffic barriers.
The chase continued until the anti-fascists tried running at the fascists through this really long grass in the middle of the road, the cops giving chase.
The police managed to hold up them up there, allowing the fascists to carry out their march.
Then they did their photo-op thing with flags by a roundabout.
Later on, anti-fascists staged their own photo-op. You won't often see anti-fascists posing with a fascist banner, but they managed to steal one from an EDL splinter group, the South East Alliance, that was in attendance, along with some air horns. Since the far-right love flags so much, capturing one of theirs is a pretty big diss, and an apt way to wrap up a crappy day for England's fascists.
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