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Port blockade amid truckers protest

A bid to blockade a major British port will go ahead today amid concern about illegal migrants using Calais as a staging post to try to enter the UK.

Disruption is expected at the Port of Dover in Kent in a show of support for truckers under strain from the rise in migrant numbers across the Channel.

Drivers say they face daily threats of damage to their trucks, concerns over the loss of their livelihoods and hefty fines if migrants are caught in their vehicles.

Campaigners claiming to support the plight faced by the truckers have set up a Facebook group calling for the port to be shut down from 1pm today.

A statement on the Support the Calais to Dover Truckers’ page yesterday said: “Tomorrow will see us prove all the doubters wrong with a lawful protest with no abusive language and no drunken yobs and then we expect a full apology or we will be taking our next protest to people’s front doors.”

Concerns have been raised that far-right groups are behind the protest and are using the plight of HGV drivers to push their hardline views on immigration.

Trucker Tommy Harrison, 28, who founded a 2,800-strong Facebook group representing lorry drivers’ interests, said none of their members supported any blockade.

Kent Police said it was planning to ensure the protest passed peacefully. Port of Dover officials said they were “monitoring the situation”.

A port statement said: “We are monitoring the situation to ensure that we can deal with the planned protest in the safest and most constructive way.”

Yesterday 12 suspected illegal immigrants were detained in Millyard Way, Dover, and handed over to the Home Office immigration enforcement team.

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