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.
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