They wunt be druv – Bonfire revellers make it from Brighton despite lockdown of Lewes

Posted On 05 Nov 2017 at 5:11 am

Fewer than usual, but people from Brighton and Hove travelled to Lewes yesterday for the annual Bonfire parades and fireworks.

In the past the authorities have tried to stop the people of Lewes from being able to remember the fifth of November.

This year, working with train company Southern, they tried to stop people from outside Lewes heading to their county town.

Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was born in Brighton and raised in Lewes, said that he would write to the government to complain about the decision which he said was draconian, undemocratic and wholly inappropriate.

If injuries and arrests were the safety measures – as indicated in advance – they failed, with about 80 people treated and five held.

On this basis, with many more people arrested or treated each year, Brighton can also expect to be placed in lockdown for Pride next summer.

Trains stopped stopping at noon at neighbouring stations as well as at Lewes and parking restrictions, a drop-off ban and road closures followed.

But Sussex Police estimated 60,000 people or more had squeezed into the town anyway – the resident population numbers about 20,000.

The annual event remembers not only the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the King and the Houses of Parliament in 1605 but the burning of the Protestant martyrs 450 years ago.

Although Lewes Bonfire is traditionally held on the fifth, this year it took place a day earlier because the fifth falls in a Sunday.

And while it’s proved controversial in the past, this year there was a second row in addition to the lockdown of Lewes where armed police were deployed for a second year.

The other controversy resulted in Borough Bonfire Society modifying its Zulu costumes after criticisms. And it ended its face blacking although others – among the crowds – were defiant.

A Borough member was at pains to point out that he and the society were honouring the Zulus, not out to offend.

Among the effigies to be burnt on the Bonfire this year were Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and Theresa May.

Sussex Police said this morning (Sunday 5 November): “Sussex Police and partner agencies worked throughout the evening to ensure Lewes Bonfire celebrations were enjoyed by those who attended.

“The town centre between Cliffe High Street and the castle was very busy between 8.30pm and 9.30pm and it is thought it was possibly slightly busier than last year.

“Crowd numbers are an estimation as there is no official count.”

Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor said: “This event takes months of preparation, planning and working with our fellow emergency services and partners, as well as the bonfire societies.

“Our aim is always to provide a safe environment for both participants and spectators.

“Lewes was busy as it always is for bonfire night and I am very grateful to all those who worked hard during the evening to ensure that everyone had a safe and enjoyable evening.”

The South East Coast Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance treated about 80 people for injuries, most relatively minor.

Sussex Police added: “By 1.30am police had issued three dispersal orders and a total of five arrests have been made for drink driving, failing to comply with a dispersal order, possession of a knife and an assault.”

  1. linda Reply

    they stop trains but people could still get buses to lewes. so why stop trains when they wear running people usad bus

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