Nine arrests in Brighton as protesters confront March for England participants

Posted On 25 Apr 2010 at 11:49 pm

Nine people were arrested today after a St George’s Day parade from Brighton Station to Victoria Gardens.

Protesters tried to disrupt the “March for England” and there were stand-offs and attempts to reach the marchers, notably by the Clock Tower.

The nine were held on suspicion of various offences from affray and public order to breaching the peace and having drugs.

And a 20-year-old man was arrested yesterday morning after posting a message on a social networking site urging protesters to arm themselves.

The man arrested at an address in Hollingdean, questioned by officers and released on bail until Monday 24 May.

His bail conditions excluded him from entering any area of Brighton where the march was taking place and from posting further inflammatory messages.

Five men were arrested for affray in Cheapside after a fight.

The five included a 19-year-old from Bodmin, Cornwall, a 20-year-old man from Bognor and two 19-year-olds and a 17-year-old from Chichester.

Other arrests included:

  • A 38-year-old Brighton man was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace in Trafalgar Street.
  • A 55-year-old man from Newhaven was arrested for breaching the peace in Victoria Gardens.
  • And a 31-year-old man was arrested for a public order offence in London Road.

The ninth person to be arrested was a 36-year-old Brighton man suspected of having Class A drugs in Gloucester Place.

The march started shortly after midday and brought traffic to a standstill along parts of the route over the next 45 minutes.

About 25 masked protesters appeared to be trying to stop the march with force as it passed by the Clock Tower.

Police stepped in and the group were allowed to continue their protest vocally.

After the march ended, the marchers went to the King and Queen pub in Marlborough Place near where the majority of protesters had massed.

Most of them had dispersed by shortly after 3pm as had the marchers.  

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Thorough planning and effective policing ensured that the March for England event and counter-protest passed off peacefully.”

Superintendent Steve Whitton, the officer in charge of policing the event, said: “The right to peaceful protest is an important part of Brighton life and a priority for us today was the safety of both the groups involved and the general public.

“We were determined not to face the kind of violent disorder that has been seen during similar events in other cities.

“To achieve this worked closely with the organisers of the march and the protest to ensure they could both freely air their views in a fair and safe way.

“We developed our policing plans flexibly and quickly in response to new information that developed over the course of only a week.

“Our aim today was to allow the free speech of both groups while preventing disorder and disruption to other people and businesses in the city.

“Our firm but fair policing style ensured any problems were quickly dealt with and we were able to significantly reduce the number of officers required as the day went on.”

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