Hundreds join Brighton student protest march to Hove

Posted On 30 Nov 2010 at 5:40 pm

Students on the roof of Norton Road car park

Hundreds of students, sixth formers and schoolchildren marched to Hove Town Hall today (Tuesday 30 November) to campaign against rising tuition fees.

The protest moved peacefully from Victoria Gardens in Brighton, shortly after 2pm, beginning with a group of approximately 500 students.

Numbers swelled to approximately 800 along the way as groups gathering in the Old Steine joined the lines.

Spacewords Brighton

It was a good humoured march, with many shoppers cheering protesters on, including one man on the top deck of a bus who was greeted with huge cheers while he gave the demonstration the thumbs up.

However, the mood changed once the protest reached Western Road, Hove, and a line of police officers in the middle of the march stopped, separating the demonstration into two groups.

Students concerned that they were being kettled called to the group ahead to slow down to keep the march together.

Eventually the protest continued, but stopped a further three times in Western Road, agitating some marchers who had been well behaved and good natured until this point.

At Brunswick Square, when the column stopped again, many protesters realised they could walk around the police line and continued on their way.

Brighton and Hove News contacted Sussex Police to find out why the march had been slowed down so many times.

Force spokeswoman Joanna Irving said: “A number of protesters had been causing a problem and were separated from the larger group.

“The majority of the protesters were peaceful but a number were throwing things.”

Brighton and Hove City news reporter Sarah Booker was walking alongside the police line throughout the march and saw no incidents of unrest or agitation until the groups were split.

A fifth attempt by police to halt the march’s progress at Palmeira Square resulted in a few scuffles and what looked like two water bottles being thrown.

However, the majority of marchers were outside the police cordon and continued to Hove Town Hall leaving most of the police escort behind.

Effigy

Once at the town hall some protesters climbed to the top of the Norton Road car park. An effigy of Nick Clegg was burnt and a water bottle thrown from the roof.

A large box was also thrown, resulting in a police withdrawal and chants from the majority of the crowd to “stop throwing s**t”.

One Brighton University student who was on the roof attempting to display a banner said: “There were school kids throwing things. A couple of the older students tackled them to the ground to stop them throwing stuff.

“This is not what we’re here for. It makes me angry some people do this, it spoils the message about our fight.”

Many students started to leave when scuffles broke out next to the town hall’s main entrance and a couple of bangers were let off.

When a large number of officers in riot gear appeared the majority fled heading back towards Brighton.

Groups moving back through Brighton are reported to have damaged the window of the Vodafone store in Western Road, the window of McDonald’s in London Road, and the door of the nearby Halifax.

A group of protesters are currently being contained by police near St Peter’s Church.

One arrest has been made.

  1. Hugh Jeffery Reply

    Today the police, rather than trying to control and keep order at the protest seemed to be trying to put it down by seperating groups of protesters. The chaos that followed was because everyone was running through alleys to avoid being “kettled”.

  2. John Gardner Reply

    The above statement is true from what I saw. The march had been progressing peacefully and with plenty of jubilation until the protesters appear to have been provoked by police trying to split them up. A policeman I spoke to said that they don’t use kettling as a tactic, but perhaps he was being diplomatic.

  3. Kybbles Reply

    I was in the march and from what I saw the police were unnecessaily violent, in some cases brutal and I saw them, multiple times, wrestle schoolchildren toward their colleagues saying “They want to talk to them about what they’ve been saying about the police officers” when they’d been saying the same chants as everyone else.
    Their many attempts at kettling, both failed and partially successful (I saw at least two broken by the protestors, and many spent too much time kettling and many protestors got away and continued the march whilst they tried to secure the sides) did no good and only made the protestors angry and confined, they actually CAUSED the outbreaks of violence. This, by the way, is why I threw water over the edge of the roof (Yes, that was me and; no, I didn’t throw the bottle, I just sprayed the water out) over the policemen, I saw they were about to kettle many of the protestors on the ground which would do nothing but aggrevate protestors and did my best to stall them.
    I’d also like to say that there ARE a small minority of protestors who go on these marches purely as an excuse to scuffle with the police and cause mayhem and I’d like to tell any of those reading this that acting like that is DETRIMENTAL to the cause, these marches are peaceful and although you bolster numbers many of us would prefer you not turn up if you are going to behave this way.

    Also, I’m in the far right of the second picture in this article. At that point I was stopping one part of the police line trying to kettle the march behind by standing in front of them and stopping. My aim in this was to give the marchers behind an opportunity to break from the kettle by going around the police line.

  4. John Gardner Reply

    Well done Kybbles for helping to break the police line; I was testing out similar tactics myself!

  5. kettle solutions Reply

    I have studied the kettling technique and to avoid getting caught up in this protesters need to stand shoulder to shoulder and in a row of at least 4 people then it is impossible for the kettling to occur

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