Kent

French authorities stop aid convoy at Dover

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Media captionPeople on the convoy protested at Dover

A convoy of aid intended for migrants in Calais has been stopped at the Port of Dover by the French authorities.

The 250 vehicles including lorries, cars and motorcycles, which earlier set off from Westminster, had hoped to board a ferry at 14:00 BST.

Kent Police said it had been notified by the French authorities the convoy had been refused entry to France.

"No agency within the United Kingdom has any grounds to challenge this decision," it said in a statement.

The convoy, organised by a number of campaign groups including the People's Assembly and Stop the War Coalition, made the decision to set off from outside the Houses of Parliament at 09:00 BST, despite a public order injunction being taken out by the authorities in Calais.

Image copyright People's Assembly
Image caption Convoy organisers said the French authorities told them the travel-ban was related to heightened security in France

A spokesman for the People's Assembly said the convoy was separated from the rest of ferry traffic when it arrived in Dover.

"A few cars have made it to France but they are being stopped there apparently," said Steve Sweeney.

Mr Sweeney said organisers had been told the ban was to do with heightened security in France.

He said they had been organising the convoy for six months and accused Kent Police of colluding with their French counterparts to prevent them from crossing.

"Kent Police were taking down our number plates when we stopped on the way here," he said.

"We're now holding a rally."

The People's Assembly said a 38-tonne truck loaded with aid was allowed on to a EuroTunnel shuttle.

Image copyright People's Assembly
Image caption Supporters of the convoy held banners up as it arrived in Dover

A Kent Police spokesman said however, the refusal of entry to France was a matter for the French authorities.

"Kent Police is working with partner agencies in planning a policing response to minimise any disruption to the community, businesses and the public," he said.

The Port of Dover said the protesters later began heading back to their vehicles and returning to London after the stand-off with the French border authorities.

The People's Assembly tweeted: "Convoy now reassembling and heading for the French Embassy in London for mass protest".

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