Assaulted Photographer Condemns Far Right Groups for Dover Violence

A freelance photographer who was savagely attacked during disturbances in Dover on Saturday 30 January, has condemned far-right groups for causing the violence in the town. His attacker, Peter Atkinson from Liverpool, received a sentence of seven years for Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent at Canterbury High Court on Monday 23 May.

The disturbances broke out after far right groups including the English Defence League, National Front, South East Alliance and North West Infidels attempted to march through Dover in a demonstration against immigration. The photographer was badly injured in the attack and required surgery involving plates and pins to reconstruct his elbow and arm.

The photographer said:“I welcome the sentence of  7 years handed to Peter Atkinson today. His attack on me was unprovoked, brutal and cowardly. It took place while I was going about photographing a public event. The sentence is fair and reflects his intentions and the impact of his actions on the day.

“Journalists have long been a target for far-right thugs. Abuse, threats, physical and sexual assaults against members of the press have become all too frequent. They see us as legitimate targets and believe they can abuse and attack us without consequences. They need to think again.

“I made it clear in the statement I gave to the police that I witnessed no violence until the far-right groups broke past police lines and began hurling bricks and bottles at what was a peaceful counter-protest. I hold the far-right groups who attended Dover on the 30th January fully responsible for the violence.

“Among them included supporters of the English Defence League, National Front, South East Alliance, Pie and Mash and Combat 18. These groups care nothing for the issues they protest about. They don’t give a damn about truckers but want to use them to demonise refugees. They don’t care about child sexual abuse unless they can use it to demonise Muslims. Many would even welcome a Paris style attack in London because they believe it would fit their own agenda. These groups offer nothing but hate and violence.”

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Shut down Nazi Blood and Honour gig – 28 May, Dover

This Saturday, 28 May, the sieg-hieling South East Alliance (SEA) will once again descend upon the streets of Dover demanding refugees go home and the borders should shut. It’s the third time this year.

But this time the South East Alliance‘s message – and their intentions – are far more sinister than before. Paul Prodromou (Pitt) – the self-styled leader of SEA is hosting a Nazi Blood and Honour event under the pretence of a ‘Rock Against Immigration’ gig.

All four bands on the bill for Dover are White Power bands; Redneck 28, Section 88, Gentleman Thugs and March or Die – all dedicated to fighting for a world where people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, Jews, Muslims and other minorities would cease to exist. They embrace the ideals of National Socialism like those of their hero Hitler.

This event is no ordinary piss-up with a few anti EU bands. This is a both a recruitment tool and a tentative foray for Blood and Honour to begin rebuilding their base. If they manage to pull this off, we’ll be faced with a more fanatical cadre of street fighting Nazis in the future.

If we want fewer Nazis in Dover on the 28 May, then we have to ensure that the gig doesn’t go ahead. Make no mistake, the fifty or so Nazis who have been arrested with bail conditions not to enter Dover, will be able to make their way in with no problem. We cannot rely on the state to arrest them or close down the gig should they find out where it is. That means we have to use any means necessary to stop it.

But Kent Anti Racism Network is a small, local organisation, only formed in October 2015. If local Nazis organised an event we’d be able to counter it.  But the gig is a national event hosted on Blood and Honour’s website and elsewhere. The Nazi bands and their Nazi fans will be travelling from across the UK to attend. We have to make sure we have enough people on our side to stop them.

So, when we’re told there will be no mobilisation by a London based organisation, it’s not good enough. Dover is in London’s backyard. What does it take for people to realise Dover has become one of the major focal points for the Nazis – whose raison d’etre is ‘defending the White Cliffs from the invaders?’

So, if you want to keep the Nazis from growing, if you want to make sure Blood and Honour do not get a foothold in the UK, join us on Saturday.

 

Assemble from 11am

Market Square, Dover, CT16 1NB

Facebook event here

 

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Kent Anti-Racism Network Conference – Saturday 21st May

Old Sessions House– Canterbury Christ Church College, North Holmes Road Campus, Canterbury, CT1 1QU

Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kent-anti-racism-network-conference-tickets-24453320540

 

Kent Anti-Racism Network will be hosting their first Conference in Canterbury in May 2016. We aim to bring together anti racists, refugee and migrant support groups and anti fascists across Kent and beyond to discuss how we can build a vibrant and inclusive movement. We want those with experience and practical skills to share with us.

There will be discussions on opposing racism and fascism such as that on ‘How do we oppose the Nazis in Dover’ with Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism and a speaker from London Anti-Fascists, chaired by a local Dover resident. Among the workshops and debates hosted at the conference will be a session to ‘know your rights at demos’ hosted by Green and Black Cross, a session on mass direct action hosted by Brighton Anti-Fascists and a session on the criminalisation of protest hosted by Defend The Right To Protest.

Anindya Bhattacharyya will be speaking on the rise of the far-right in Europe. Betty Joseph, chair of Race Relations Committee at SERTUC is speaking at our opening session and Wilf Sullivan from the Trades Union Congress will be speaking at the Austerity and Racism session. Students not Suspects have confirmed they are hosting a workshop and Amina Mangera a veteran of the battle of Lewisham is speaking at the session ‘from Lewisham to Walthamstow – how the fascists were beaten’.

Across Europe we are seeing the rise of the far-right. Refugees are being treated as criminals or non-humans by the EU, Britain and elsewhere. They have been facing ferocious physical attacks and are vilified by the mainstream media and being used to justify closing borders and enacting emergency legislation. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are also on the rise.

In Britain the far-right have splintered but hardened their views – now openly calling for violent repatriation. They are focusing their street movement primarily on violence against anti-racists and anti-fascists, trade unions and the organised working class. For them, Dover’s White Cliffs has become the symbolic location for ‘defending Britain from the invaders.’

However, there has been an outpouring of support and solidarity for refugees across Europe and the UK. Anti fascists and anti racists are mobilising in ever larger numbers to defeat the fascists on the streets. Many organisations are coming together to take on racist myths in their workplaces, their communities, schools and elsewhere. We need to focus on this and come together to discuss how we can strengthen our movement. There will be meetings, workshops and stalls hosted by a wide spectrum of groups and organisations to discuss how we can win.

Join us in Canterbury on Saturday!

 

Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kent-anti-racism-network-conference-tickets-24453320540

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1709411472663886/

 

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Misconceptions

Recent comments and articles have led to numerous misconceptions and ill-informed opinions surrounding anti-racist and anti-fascist movements, we would like to address this. Kent Anti-Racism Network was founded by a broad group of local people in the wake of the increasing Nazi marches and violence in our area. Collectively we decided enough was enough, these openly fascist and racist thugs were never and are never welcome.

Our aims and intentions have been and will continue to be, campaigning and raising money for refugees and the most vulnerable neighbours that struggle across the channel. This is emphasised by our ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ demonstration that successfully mobilised over 500 people in October 2015 and the most recent community day, Pies for Calais, in Dover on St. George’s day – 23rd April.

This recent action was victim of scaremongering by the local MP Charlie Elphicke, who stated our intention was to march and disrupt the town whilst commemorations of the zeebrugge raid were taking place. This is factually incorrect and very misleading. This is the same MP who has repeatedly attacked our movement and recently voted against giving sanctuary to 3,000 extremely vulnerable unaccompanied children. You can read our previous statement addressing Mr Elphicke’s remarks here: https://kentantiracismnetwork.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/statement-of-response-to-mp-charlie-elphicke/

In fact, the 23rd April was a fantastically, positive and fun day spent raising money and collections of food for a convoy of aid to Calais, music, face painting and of course lashings of pie, which was happily supported by local people! The suggestion that we would have the intention of disrupting an important local event such as the commemorations of the zeebrugge raid is astounding and most offensive, especially considering many of our members and activists have family ties to this. The community based day was organised after plans from the fascist ‘Pie and Mash Squad’ to descend on Dover once again, the Royal British Legion branded them “thugs” and their plans as “disgusting”. We decided to respond by raising hope, money and smiles.

As well as our sustained and dedicated solidarity work, we will continue to oppose racism and fascism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. Since before September last year the area has seen relatively large, and openly Nazi marches maraud through Dover town centre, bringing weapons and violence with it. This has reduced through continued opposition and solidarity work to a handful of Nazi racists skulking around the edge, not able to reach the town centre, directed in a moving police kettle. Come the 2nd April we peacefully decorated and waved off a convoy of aid for Calais, sending love, solidarity and warm socks! We shall continue to counteract the assorted Nazis and fascists who march in Dover with the intent of stirring up racial hatred and perpetrating violence upon anti-fascists.

Being anti-racist and anti-fascist is not a ‘militant hard left’ standpoint, it is a show of humanity and decency.

As Wigan Anti-Fascists state:

“We have seen time and time again throughout history and across the globe that the minute you leave an intrinsically violent and hateful political ideology to just ‘show themselves up’, they have managed to indoctrinate people and have risen to places of extreme and dangerous power. They urge, with the help of our current government, people to direct their anger away from the 1% – the government and the massive conglomerates – and project it onto minority groups. Whilst you would hope that most people have the strength of mind to not conspire to this way of thinking, pack mentality and economical desperation under capitalism is a breeding ground for bigotry and hate.

After WW2 the world collectively said ‘Never Again’ to the Nazis, and this is exactly when we will let even the smallest piece of abhorrent, evil speech or action go unopposed: never.

Protecting your streets from Nazis should never be seen as extreme or antisocial behaviour.”

Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts were defeated by people prepared to stand up to them at Cable Street. The goose-stepping fascists that Mosley planned to force through the streets of the East End are the mirror of the fascists who were sieg-heiling in Dover. As in the 1930s, many people felt they had to be opposed and were prepared to stop them.

If you wish to join with us in opposing racists and fascists we welcome your support. We are proud to stand up to hate together in Dover and we will continue to oppose them if they march again.

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