Ten people were arrested as dozens of protesters took to the streets of Brighton today (Monday 16 July) for a “citizens’ weapon inspection”.
It had called in reinforcements from other forces to police the protest because it had not been able to establish numbers in advance or the protesters’ intentions, Sussex Police said. And officers were also required for the Olympic torch relay today.
The protesters made their way from The Level up Lewes Road to the ITT Exelis premises in Home Farm Road, Moulsecoomb. ITT Exelis was previously known as EDO MBM.
Five protesters locked themselves to temporary barriers which had been put in place to protect the premises.
They were removed, SussexPolice said, and “arrested for wilful obstruction of the highway and breach of conditions imposed under the Public Order Act”.
The force said: “A further five people were arrested during the afternoon, one for breach of bail conditions and four for breach of conditions imposed under the Public Order Act.”
Most staff at the factory and offices were able to leave work at about 5pm despite some disruption, and all the protesters were reported to have left the area by 5.20pm.
Superintendent Ian Davies said: “Again our protest liaison officers sought to engage and liaise with members of the protest group.
“The intentions of the demonstrators were not shared with us.
“The march along Lewes Road caused minimal disruption and once the procession had been escorted to Home Farm Road safely the traffic was once again able to move freely.
“Mindful of the appalling weather conditions and the potential effect on protesters and the disruption that the ‘lock-on’ caused, we had to take action to remove the protesters ensuring that we did so safely and that no one was physically put at risk.
“We thank the staff who work in Home Farm Road for their patience while we dealt with this matter before we could reopen the road.
“Although this was a separate event, today was always going to be a busy day in the city with the arrival of the Olympic torch relay.
“We used around 150 additional officers, including some from other forces, to support this operation and to provide resilience if they were required elsewhere in the county.”