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.”
Kent Anti-Racism Network