On Saturday, January the 30th, fascists from the Nazi National Front (NF), the South East Alliance (SEA) and other affiliated groups are descending once again on the coastal town of Dover. Their aim is to protest for the closure of the borders to migrants, particularly those arriving from the war-torn areas of the Middle East and Africa. Dover is a significant focus for fascist activity, being the site of the Dover-Calais ferry crossing and the main point of entrance into the UK from Europe for migrants. This fresh display of racism comes amid a climate of ever-increasing fascist violence towards migrants in Calais; nightly demonstrations at the entrances of the Jungle – the autonomous refugee camp in Calais; threats of violent counter-demonstrations to peaceful protests against French police brutality and several abductions, including an attempted lynching. The Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) and Kent Anti-Racism Network have issued a nationwide callout for participation in the counter-demonstration, assembling at 11am in the Market Square in Dover.
There are many reasons that this counter-demonstration is important. There is a disturbing level of collaboration between the French police force and the fascist anti-migrant contingent in Calais. Attempts at anti-fascist actions against the fascist presence in Calais are met with retaliation against the migrants within the Jungle, in the form of tear-gas attacks and other forms of increased brutality. Local media in Calais have whipped up hatred and fear towards the residents of the Jungle, with the result that any local opposition to racism has been effectively dissipated. Consequently, the confidence of fascists in Calais and Europe as a whole is running high – motivated by the lack of resistance to their activities in Northern France. Only a solid opposition to fascist activities from both sides of the Channel can shake this misplaced belief that racists have license to march through the streets unhindered, spreading fear and prejudice.
This is not the first time that fascists have marched in protest against migrants and refugees coming to the UK; in the last two years there have been four marches in Dover. In September 2015 over 200 fascists marched through Dover, escorted by the police, who foiled attempts to halt the march by anti-fascists and stood by with indifference while fascists hurled missiles. The anti-fascist demonstrators defended themselves admirably from the onslaught and hindered the progress of the march on several occasions, but ultimately the Neo-Nazi demonstration was able to reach its endpoint. This will have again, wrongfully inflated the ego of the collective fascist consciousness.
The counter-demonstration on the 30th of January must serve as an end to this false notion that bigotry can stand unopposed, supported by the police and encouraged by the policies of the British and French governments. In the face of tacit approval of racist actions by the State, and collusion of police forces with fascists, it falls to us to actively oppose this fascist action and stand in solidarity with Kent Anti-Racism network to defend communities against racism.