12 MAY 2016

Why I condemn new planned protests in Dover

On the next bank holiday weekend fascists and anti fascists plan to assemble in Dover. They plan to have demonstrations and counter demonstrations on the Saturday and the Sunday of the Bank holiday weekend. This is unacceptable.

So far this year Dover has had to put up with demonstrations on a monthly basis. Fascists and anti fascists come to Dover to use the town as a battleground. They claim to be people of principle. Yet the truth is they are simply opposite sides of the same coin of hatred and extremism. They come form London and beyond and they seek a weekend of violence by the seaside.

Last week I met with the newly elected Police Commissioner Matthew Scott. I asked him to use all the powers at his disposal to limit these matches. The fascists want to march to the port. They seek to block up the entrance to the Port. This is not in our national interest. It would damage our local and national economy. For this reason I have made the case to the Police that they should use their powers to route any marches away from the A20. In addition it is clearly necessary once again to ensure there is effective, proportionate and appropriate policing. That may mean over 500 officers. The cost of that is astronomical. It is we the Kent taxpayer who have to foot the bill to ensure these extremists are kept at bay. That too is unnacceptable. The cost of these demonstrations should be paid for by the fascists and anti fascist groups that plan to descend on Dover.

These latest demonstrations highlight the need for a change in law. People want to see us keep our "right of protest". Yet there must be balance. The people of Dover and the businesses of Dover have a right to go about their daily lives. Without disruption and without being hampered by the selfish and uncaring actions of an extremist and violent minority. A peaceful demonstration every so often is one thing. A potentially violent demonstration every month harms our town, our local economy, damages our civic renewal and is wholly disproportionate. I am making the case for reform to the Home Secretary.

This right to demonstrate is, of course, all down to European human rights laws. You won't hear much sympathy for the people of Dover from human rights lawyers. European human rights seem too often to be a charter for criminals and the undeserving.

Yet human rights laws should be there to protect us. They should not continually be used as a weapon against the people. We need to see the reform of human rights laws with a British Bill of Rights. We need a human rights code we can have confidence in. A code that will protect the innocent law abiding people of Dover and enable all of us to go about our daily lives without let or hindrance.

2 comments

I would like to see a parliamentary petition Everyone entitled 1 demonstration a year 2 demonstration - sum required to monitor and evaluate cost of police, to the local economy etc 3 or more demonstrations - organisers meet all costs identified in the evaluation - taken on average cost of each demonstration.
- Mike McFarnell

Thank you for making the case for these events to be banned. But you're incorrect to say that these demonstrations are down to human rights law. English common law was for centuries based on principles including that rights exist unless they are specifically prohibited by law. Incidentally, the English Bill of Rights dates back to 1689. The Chief Constable does seem to be interpreting the law in a way which limits the right of Dovorians to go about their business this weekend. It's crazy to address that by making more legislation. Instead, we all need to mount a more effective argument for these marches to be banned next time.
- Stella Quentin

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Charlie Elphicke

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