A fireman was assaulted at the Occupy Brighton protest camp in the centre of Brighton last night (Tuesday 13 December).
This morning protesters voluntarily left the Occupy Brighton camp in Victoria Gardens.
A large group of occupiers began leaving last night, during which a minority group set fire to a large number of items such as furniture.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and later officers of Sussex Police attended.
The remaining occupiers left peacefully this morning and the City Clean team has been helping them clear the site.
Chief Inspector Simon Nelson said: “It is disappointing that after many weeks of peaceful occupation an event has occurred which put the safety of others at risk, damaged the environment and resulted in a public servant being assaulted.
“Most of the occupiers were committed to a peaceful protest and even assisted with clearing the site, but over a period of time the camp had been infiltrated by others who did not share this commitment.
“It is a reality that this will happen over a period of time and we need to bear this in mind for the future.
“We have consistently demonstrated our support for peaceful protest, as seen during the large national strike demonstration at the end of November.
“However, we will deal decisively and proportionately with any behaviour that is anything other than peaceful. This is what our communities expect and that is what we will continue to do.
“While fire officers were dealing with the fire, one of them was pushed to the ground by an occupant who then ran off.
“This is now being investigated by the police as an assault and we would encourage any witnesses to come forward and support us in bringing this person to justice.”
Now that the site has been cleared by council colleagues, Sussex Police and the local authority will discuss any further action they may wish to take in terms of the damage caused.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 or the independent charity anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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