By Damien Gayle
Guardian, 30 January, 2016
Guardian, 30 January, 2016
One man has been arrested and a number of coaches damaged in a clash between fascist and anti-fascist protesters who stopped at the same motorway services on their way to opposing demonstrations in Dover.
At least one windscreen was smashed and a swastika was daubed on the side of a coach, allegedly in blood, after rightwingers attacked using sticks and debris found around the car park of the service station.
Anindya Bhattacharyya, 44, from Whitechapel in east London, who was travelling with the anti-fascist group, said he was away from the coaches and inside the service station when violence erupted.
“The service station staff bolted the doors and through the windows we could see a large group of fascists,” he said. “They were wearing Combat 18 T-shirts and one had an Enoch Powell T-shirt.
“They were running at the anti-fascist demonstrators and there was some argy-bargy, things were chucked back and forth. And then the anti-fascists went back to their coaches and the group of fascists basically tooled up with bits of wood and bins.
“They attacked one of our coaches and smashed up the windows and one of them came and daubed a swastika in blood on the side of one of the coaches.”
After the police arrived the rightwing demonstrators were taken away from the area, Bhattacharyya said. He and the rest of the anti-fascist demonstrators, who had all travelled from London, were kept on their coaches, surrounded by a police cordon.
A spokesman for Kent police said: “We were called at 10.51am to a report of a disturbance at the junction 8 services on the M20. A number of coaches have been damaged in the incident and officers are currently at the scene carrying out inquiries. One man has been arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.”
Groups of fascists and anti-fascists from across the country are set to gather in Dover for opposing demonstrations over immigration on Saturday afternoon. Far-right protesters opposed to migration plan to march from Dover Priory station, and anti-fascists have vowed to stop them. It is believed alternative demo routes are planned in the event that the main route is blocked.
Dover has been the scene of an ongoing standoff between anti-fascists and rightwing groups led by a resurgent National Front, according to Duncan Cahill of Hope Not Hate, an anti-racist organisation.
“There have been a few demos down in Dover where the far-right and anti-fascists have had clashes,” he said. “What we have today and for the past few months is massive call-outs by just about every Nazi group in the country and everyone involved in anti-fascism has gone down there today for what looks like a massive punch-up.”
Kent police have warned Dover residents to expect disruption and delays on local and main roads throughout the day.
The force said in a statement: “It is anticipated that these demonstrations will attract larger numbers than recent protests and there will be extra police officers in the town whose main role will be to facilitate a peaceful protest, to maintain public safety and to minimise the impact on local people going about their daily business.”