Campaigners take stand against far-right with demonstration of support for refugees

PUBLISHED: 14:20 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:43 05 September 2020

Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Pro-migrant activists have taken their stand against the far-right in Dover by holding a rally in support of refugees.

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Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

The campaigners took a peaceful stance as police clashed with anti-migrant protesters as they blocked roads and sung Rule Britannia.

Addressing a crowd of about 100, Peter Keenan from Kent Refugee Help said when society sees people who are fleeing war and turns them away “that says something about the state of your society”.

Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.Pro-migrant supporters during a 'solidarity stand' in Dover's Market Square in support of the refugees crossing the Channel to Kent. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

He continued: “We are not those people. We are standing up and welcoming people who are in desperate circumstances fleeing from awful situations.”

The protest follows the discovery of the body of drowned Sudanese refugee Abdulfatah Hamdallah washed up in Calais.

Joe Burman, a local councillor and an pro-migrant campaigner, said the presence of the far-right had brought about the demonstration.

He said: “From our point of view we are just dismayed that fascist flags will be flying over the white cliffs of Dover.


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“They intend to play Vera Lynn, a signifier of our battle against fascism in World War II which they’ve co opted for their own aims to spread hate.

“And most veterans that served in world war two would be spitting in their graves to think of Nazi flags over the white cliffs of Dover. I think it’s a disgrace.”

The words “Rise above fear. Refugees welcome” was beamed onto the White Cliffs of Dover ahead of planned protests on Saturday.

The iconic Kent landmark was lit up with a series of massive projections in support of migrant welfare.

The messages included “These cliffs mean hope” and tributes to Syrian boy Alan Kurdi on the fifth anniversary of his tragic death.

The spectacle lit up the cliffside on Friday night and was organised by humanitarian charity Freedom From Torture.

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