Schoolboy, 15, arrested during student demo in Brighton

Posted On 25 Nov 2010 at 5:50 am

A 15-year-old schoolboy was among three people were arrested during the student protests in Brighton and Hove yesterday.

The Poundland shop in Western Road, Brighton, suffered looting and protesters entered Brighton Town Hall and two Brighton University buildings.

Sussex Police said that it was not aware of any rports of damage to the town hall or university buildings.

The police also issued a statement about the involvement of children in the demonstration against education spending cuts and a proposed rise in university tuition fees.

Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett said: “People have a genuine grievance and we are happy to help them air their discontent.

“We liaised closely with the organisers of the march to help plan for a safe and secure environment for both protesters and local residents and to prevent crime and disorder.

“Protesters joined the planned march at Dyke Road Park and peacefully followed the agreed route, causing minimal disruption to the surrounding area.

“The organisers complied with police and used appointed stewards to direct protesters towards Victoria Gardens.

“Unfortunately a group of protesters who were unconnected with the original march seemed to have hijacked the protest at this point.

“As a result groups of protesters broke away and caused disorder, criminal damage and disruption to the city.

“Two buildings belonging to Brighton University were subject to protest.

“Some protesters gained entry to these buildings.

“Similar circumstances also arose at Brighton Town Hall, where some protesters gained entry and were quickly ejected.

“To our knowledge no damage was caused.

“Some people have expressed concern that there were children involved in today’s events.

“The police have a duty to facilitate all peaceful protest.

“The issue of whether children are allowed to take part is one for parents and carers.

“Should we believe a child to be at risk from ‘significant harm’, there are police powers under the Children Act to deal with that.

“That was not necessary during today’s events.

“While there was no intelligence prior to the event that some protesters would embark on criminal acts, sufficient resources were in place to deal with the crime and disorder that took place.

“At its peak 250 officers were deployed and an estimated 2,500 protesters took part.

“Three arrests have been made today – a 15-year-old boy has been arrested for breach of the peace, a 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and a further arrest has been made for breach of the peace.

“During the course of the later part of the protest, some groups entered Poundland in Western Road and stole property.

“This and any other offences that took place will be thoroughly investigated.

“We would appeal for anyone who has witnessed any criminal activity in the city today to contact Brighton and Hove police.

“We anticipate more arrests over the coming days and weeks as the investigations continue.”

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