Two police officers injured in Brighton during March for England 2012

Two police officers have been injured during the fifth annual March for England, which took place through Brighton on Sunday (22 April 2012).

The March for England, comprising of some 140 people, set off from Surrey Street by Brighton railway station, just after 12.30pm on Sunday, and headed towards Victoria Gardens for a rally.

Several hundred protestors and onlookers gathered along the route in Queens Road and in Church Street.

Sussex Police has said that there were “verbal exchanges” between the marchers, with “missiles”, including bottles, being thrown towards them and police. Police also said that attempts were made to obstruct the march at several points.

The “major police operation” which took place in Brighton for the march, rally and counter-protest included a “strong police presence including mounted officers in order to ensure that there was no disorder”.

Two male officers, both Constables, received head injuries when bottles were thrown at them. One of the officers was treated at the Royal Sussex County Hospital for his injuries but was later discharged.

Several police horses received superficial cuts and bruises when attacked by protestors. However, at this stage, there have been no reports of damage to property and no reports of injuries to any members of the public.

Three arrests were made on suspicion of public order offences at separate points along the line of the march. One of the men arrested was subsequently released without charge and the other two, both aged 20, one from Brighton and one from Worthing, are currently in custody for interview and further enquiries. None of the men arrested were from the march.

Superintendent Steve Whitton of Sussex Police said: “A strong police presence was necessary in order to ensure that the event took place and the risk of disorder and injury was minimised. We had several hundred officers available, with support from surrounding forces including mounted officers, and our priority throughout was on public safety whilst at the same time enabling both the marchers and counter-protestors to express their views within the law.

“We had been in discussion with the organiser for the March for England and agreed that they should go from the railway station to Victoria Gardens for speeches to take place before the event closed.

“Engagement with opposing groups was limited but we continued to try to contact any such organisers to establish their intentions for the day.

“We worked closely with British Transport Police, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, and Brighton & Hove Council to ensure minimum impact on the travel infrastructure in the city. Our officers advised local residents, businesses and those planning a day out in Brighton that certain central areas would experience some temporary disruption as the march follows the proposed route. However, we continued to liaise with the community before and during the protest and provided live updates on Twitter and the Sussex Police website.

“Our priority throughout the day has been ensuring public safety whilst allowing peaceful protest, minimising disruption to the city, local communities and businesses, preventing crime and disorder and providing a safe and secure environment for the protestors and the surrounding community.

“However we were concerned that there were some people at this event whose intention was not to peacefully protest. We were able to restrain these groups and individuals with a firm, robust but fair policing response, but this did require a major police presence at several points.

“This event is an example of the way in the police service must professionally and objectively balance the competing and lawful rights of groups who are opposed to each other. Groups have every right to express their views peacefully in a democratic society, and it is our job to help ensure that they can do just that.”

The rally in Victoria Gardens ended and the marchers went north up London Road and into Trafalgar Street, from where they made their way to the railway station and dispersed by shortly after 4pm.

Posted by on Apr 23rd, 2012 and filed under Community, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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