Fourth Brighton fees protest march ends peacefully

Posted On 09 Dec 2010 at 12:43 pm

The march comes down North Street. Picture by @bethgranter from Twitpic

Brighton’s fourth tuition fees protest has ended after peacefully progressing through Brighton for three hours.

The march was organised by Fight the Fees and Cuts Brighton, which also urged schoolchildren to stage a mass walkout today.

It started at 1pm at The Level, and about 200 people passed peacefully through Trafalgar Street, Queen’s Road, North Street to its destination at Victoria Gardens.

It then made an unscheduled route along London Road to Preston Circus and up to the Seven Dials, before coming down past the station and to the Clock Tower where speeches were made until about 4.20pm.

Just one adult male arrested for refusing to take down an offensive banner. Marcher Richard Basehart added on Twitter: “One egg was thrown and hit no one.”

Sussex Police said the fact organisers had discussed their intentions with police meant officers were able to escort the march safely along the designated routes and keep what disruption there was to a minimum.

Superintendant Steve Whitton said: “I’m really pleased with the overall co-operation and behaviour of those taking part in today’s event. This has ensured that the protest was able to take place safely and the impact on the city was minimal.”

The mood of the march was in marked contrast to the protest in London, which has descended into violence with police officers injured, and reports of protesters hurt too.

Earlier in the day, Sussex campaigner Marina Pepper, who was once a Liberal Democrat councillor and chair of Lewes District Council, tweeted earlier today that the Brighton march would be a “gleefully angry stomp through the city”.

But although it may be angry, police expected it to be as peaceful as yesterday’s demonstration at the Clock Tower, which ended with no violence and no arrests.

Sussex Police’s Chief Inspector Laurence Taylor said: “We’ve been speaking to organisers of today’s demo and are looking forward to a peaceful demonstration in Brighton today.”

Brighton and Hove Buses warned customers to expect disruption. At 4.11pm, it gave this update: “The protest march is at Clock Tower but no longer on the roadway.  All services will return to normal routes as soon as they can. Services are still subject to long delays.

“Additionally, Metrobus have advised us that service 273 will be terminating at/starting from Old Steine and so Churchill Square will not be served.

“Stagecoach buses on route 17 to Horsham are operating from Churchill Square via Brighton Station and Seven Dials to reach Preston Circus, and Stagecoach 700 buses are terminating at Palmeira Square, so are not serving Brighton city centre.”

Students staging a spontaneous sit-down protest in the Old Steine. Picture by @bethgranter on Twitpic

A delegation from the student occupation of Brighton University’s Pavilion Parade building took a bus to join the central London protests.

  1. Jake Reply

    That arrest was ridiculous. I was a few feet from it. Without warning, 5/6 policemen suddenly sprinted towards us, lifted him and carried him away. This was a fifteen year old kid, not an adult. He was given no fore warning. Faced with the alternative, he would have definitely removed the word if he was asked.

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