Far right splinter groups, the likes of whom appeared in the recent Channel 4 documentary Angry, White & Proud, were out in force (around 20-25 blokes) on Sunday to hold up traffic at Dover’s ferry port under the banner ‘Support Our Borders’.
As well as the usual unsavoury gawking at locals, bystanders and opposition, the EDL (English Defence League), SDL (Scottish Defence League), NF (National Front) and South East Alliance (just a few of the 50 nationalist acronyms in attendance) were protesting the financial penalties that lorry drivers could, hypothetically speaking, face if an illegal immigrant were to cross the border in the back of their vehicles.
We pulled into a Dover side street just as the nationalists began their trudge from the boozer towards the port. Within moments of picking up my camera and a spare film, I found myself ducking projectiles from the more agile bunch of anti-fascists (Antifa), who were running round the block to cut off the route.
“Nazi Scum, off our streets!” and “Fascistas!” were the chants repeated down the stretch of road towards the ferry port.
The Antifa group linked arms, facing the supposed ‘Defenders of England’, in an attempt to block their route.
As both groups began to disband and cross the dual carriageway, the police control opened up. A few lads from both sides came face-to-face on the sea walk and started tearing up, with one fascist receiving a couple of pairs of Doc Martin’s to his head.
The senior police officer shouted to his colleagues that they may bring out the batons, and the Antifa retreated down the promenade, looking for new ways to give the protestors more digs.
‘Nazi Scum, off our streets!’ and ‘Fascistas!’ were the repeated chants down the stretch of road towards the Ferry port.
The nationalists took to the side of the road next to the ferry port entry, posing for selfies in front of the white cliffs to upload to their social media – the rest of the temporarily-congested throughways were scattered with anti-fascists, trying to climb and bush-dive their way towards the enemy.
The walk back to the town centre saw the nationalists on one side of a police barricade, and the anti-fascists on the other, playing a game of heckling one-upmanship.
A spindly, red-haired, nationalist kid yelled at me that I was walking on “his” side of the road. I explained to him that I wasn’t on a ‘side’.
Paul Pitt, leader of the South East Alliance, asked me whether I thought he was “bovvered by one photo?” I assumed this was a rhetorical question, so gave him the ‘whatevs’ sign, as a copper pushed me back among the anti-fascists.
The protest ended with the nationalist protestors being escorted to a nearby car park so they could find their way home.
Just as I thought it was time to follow suit, pick up a Greggs and catch my train back to London, three of the nationalists began driving around in a white van, calling everyone “wankers”.
After getting caught behind a parked car, a few anti-fascists kicked at the back of the van, causing the driver to pull some novice GTA-style moves, narrowly missing them.
One of the Antifas snatched the keys from the ignition and chucked them into nearby brambles, which a few coppers then had to laboriously sift through.
The driver of the van was arrested, along with two of the anti-fascist group as “Where’s your van gone?” and a few more off-the-cuff chants were sung.
With that, the nationalists had been and gone, momentarily disrupting the truck drivers they were supposedly supporting, and feeling the rough end of an Antifa mosh-pit.
Images by Fraser Thorne