ENGLISH police are investigating Scottish links to a neo-Nazi march in Dover town centre that resulted in rioting, weapon seizures, injuries and a number of arrests.
Violence erupted between far right supporters and anti-fascists on Saturday 30th January 2016 during a march organised by the National Front in opposition to immigration and refugees.
The demonstration was attended by members of the Scottish Defence League (SDL) who joined with neo-Nazi groups Combat 18 and North West Infidels, among other far right organisations involved in running street battles with anti-fascists.
More than 20 weapons were seized by police including hammers, bricks, a lock-knife, knuckle duster, glass, pieces of wood and poles adapted to cause harm.
At time of writing, 17 people have been arrested for various offences including violent disorder.
Kent Police said they were examining footage of the violence and would liaise with other forces where necessary.
One video shows far right supporters giving sieg heil salutes, the ‘Hail Victory’ salute of Hitler’s Nazi Party.
The SDL boasted on social media that its members were in Dover and photos of injured people were posted on a Twitter account claiming to represent the group.
On Facebook, the SDL posted a video with a statement that said: “Well done to all the SDL and other patriot groups who went to the anti-immigration, anti-refugee, support our truckers demo in Dover today.”
The statement went on to claim that Antifa, communists and anarchists had tried to stop the march by throwing flares, bottle and bricks and that they were forced to defend themselves.
“This resulted in several traitors being hospitalised,” the SDL said.
A twitter account with the handle @gwalker1312 – claiming to belong to the SDL – posted photos of an injured man lying on the ground.
The tweet said: “Ha ha member of antifash eating the pavement with a burst mouth not so brave on the streets fucking scum.”
Another SDL tweet displayed a photo of a man with a bloodied mouth and broken teeth, with the words: “Another pic of an antifash member missing a few front teeth lol”.”
The same SDL account claimed that far right supporters had routed anti-fascists.
The Ferret examined footage of the violence posted online which shows far right supporters carrying saltires during confrontations with rivals.
One clips shows a masked person wearing a black hoodie with a Saltire logo, alongside and the words “No Surrender to Al Qaeda” while another clip shows a saltire alongside a black and red National Front flag as people run across parkland.
There’s also footage of a man holding a saltire in the middle of a group of National Front supporters charging at anti-fascists and a photography of a man holding a saltire with the words “Scottish Defence League – Edinburgh Division“.
One person suffered a broken arm, five others were injured and three were arrested during the violence.
South East Alliance, North West Infidels and East Kent English Patriots were among other organisations involved in the anti-refugee protest.
Hooded members of Antifa – a left wing group that opposes neo-Nazis – were among pro-refugee supporters in Dover and footage showed that a small number were also involved in violence.
There were also reports of an altercation at Maidstone service station in the morning, where coaches carrying pro-immigration protesters en route to Dover came under attack.
Witnesses described seeing a swastika daubed in blood on the side of a coach, while another had its front window smashed, reportedly by far-right groups.
In a statement to The Ferret, Kent Police said: “A total of 17 people have been arrested in connection with the demonstrations in Dover on Saturday 30 January 2016. More than 20 weapons were seized in total at Dover and the M20 services including a lock-knife, knuckle duster, poles adapted to cause harm, pieces of wood, glass, hammers and bricks.”
“One man suffered a broken arm but there were no other serious injuries reported, including to police. Extra officers were on duty in the town to allow a march to the Eastern Docks and a separate protest in the town centre to go ahead as planned, while minimising disorder and disruption to the community.”
“Detectives continue to review CCTV footage and investigate offences reported both before and during the demonstrations. Clearly officers will be liaising with other police forces when appropriate.”
Kent Police invoked additional powers for last weekend in order to search members of the public for weapons ahead of the protest.
The force announced last Thursday that they had been granted the use of Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, between 9am and 7pm on Saturday in parts of Dover.
The city has been the scene of an ongoing stand-off between anti-fascists and right-wing groups led by a resurgent National Front since a similar “anti-immigration” protest in September 2015.
Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council said: “We were shocked and saddened to see the images from the protests at Dover on Saturday, and condemn incidents of disorder in the district. We continue to work closely with Kent Police and all our partners in the community to ensure that Dover remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”
A version of this article was published by The National on 3rd February 2016.