Police warning to Brighton and Hove parents about today’s student protest

Posted On 30 Nov 2010 at 5:50 am

Police urged parents to rein in their children as they prepared for the Stop the Cuts protest march due to take place this afternoon.

The warning followed the arrest of five schoolchildren during and after a similar protest last Wednesday (24 November).

Superintendent Steve Whitton, of Sussex Police,  said: “We worked closely with the organisers of the march on Wednesday to help us provide a safe and secure environment for both the protesters and the surrounding local community and to prevent crime and disorder.

“Unfortunately, as the march arrived at the pre-determined rally point in Victoria Gardens, groups of protesters broke away and caused disorder, criminal damage and disruption to the city.

“Many of the businesses and organisations who were on the receiving end of some of the damage and disruption are themselves facing job losses and budget cuts.

“Many people expressed concern that there were children involved in the recent demonstration, some of whom found that they were held in containments by police to prevent further breaches of the peace and to allow police to carry out controlled dispersals.

“I would like to make a direct plea to parents and carers of the schoolchildren and young teenagers who intend to take part in the protest: please speak to your child and make sure they understand the consequences of their behaviour.

“They may render themselves vulnerable if they follow the crowd and those not directly affiliated with the cause who are intent on taking over the protest for their own means.

“We have continued to work closely with schools and Brighton and Hove City Council to communicate this message.

“We will facilitate peaceful protest but the issue of whether children take part is one for parents and carers.

“If during the event the police believe a child is at risk from significant harm there are police powers under the Children Act to deal with that.

“It is disappointing that of the six arrests made on Wednesday, five of them were of 15 and 16-year-old children for offences such as assaulting police, obstructing police, causing harassment and alarm and breach of the peace.”

The march being held today is in support of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts with protesters due to meet in Victoria Gardens, Brighton, at 1.30pm.

They are due to make their way up North Street and along Western Road and Church Road before holding a demonstration outside Hove Town Hall.

The students are protesting about the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government’s cuts in higher education spending and a proposed rise in tuition fees.

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