Early May Day protest in Brighton leads to arrests
It is believed that over 200 people took part in the protests, which involved many groups demonstrating on the streets of Brighton and Hove for the “Plans to Party and Protest by the Sea”.
Demonstrators included those from Smash EDO, South Coast Climate Camp, Brighton Uncut, Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, Sussex Industrial Workers of the World, Squatters’ Network of Brighton, Brighton AntiFascists, Brighton Hunt Saboteurs, students, Queer Mutiny Brighton and Brighton Benefits Campaign.
There were also a similar number of police officers. Prior to the protest, Sussex Police called for the organisers to get in contact with them, “We welcome people coming to the city to express their views but we are urging those involved to contact us about their intentions.”
The eight arrests included two arrests made on suspicion of failure to remove face masks whilst one person was arrested on suspicion to give up their alcohol.
Another two arrests related to the suspicion of using threatening and abusive language and another two happened after a police officer was obstructed and assaulted by members of the public.
The last arrest was of a man for his role in a previous demonstration in London on 26 March. The 25-year old man refused to give his address and was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder at the TUC march.
Of the eight arrested, only four were charged. They will appear before magistrates on 20 May.
The early May Day demonstration started at midday on the seafront near the West Pier. What began as a march became a demonstration, and the group was kettled.
After this, the group divided into smaller groups.
The protest appeared to end at around 4pm but another group were kettled afterwards after they came together outside Topshop and Vodafone in Western Road. They too were kettled, searched by police and taken to Churchill Square.
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett commented on the day: “We are happy to facilitate peaceful protest and welcome people coming to the city to express their views.
“Despite public appeals by ourselves and other people to the organisers to consider the consequences of their actions on the local community and businesses, they failed to co-operate and have been intent on causing disruption.
“They refused to follow a procession and broke off into several smaller groups making it difficult for police to provide a safe and secure environment for protesters and the public.
“This was the second protest over the two bank holiday weekends and the actions of the protesters could have impacted on shops and businesses during a difficult financial time.
“We have to balance the rights of the protesters and the rights of others who want to go about their everyday business.”