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News - 13 April 2012

March for England may disrupt city centre

On Sunday 22 April the fifth annual March for England event will be held in Brighton. A counter-protest is also being planned by a number of opposing groups within the city. What does this mean for business?

Sussex Police has been in discussion with the organiser of the March for England event and has agreed a route from the railway station to Victoria Gardens where speeches will take place before the event closes.

Unfortunately engagement with opposing groups has been limited so far but Sussex Police will continue to try to contact any such organisers to establish their intentions for the day. The police role will be to ensure that everyone has the right to peacefully protest, whilst minimising disruption to the city.

At the moment Sussex Police do not anticipate local businesses having to close down during the event. However, as with previous events some disruption in the city centre is inevitable, particularly if both protest groups rendezvous at Brighton Railway Station and finish at Victoria Gardens. For safety reasons, the police will be restricting numbers at the railway station.

There will be a strong but proportionate police presence in the city centre and Sussex Police are working closely with the British Transport Police and Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company to ensure minimum impact on the travel infrastructure in the city. Officers are advising local residents, businesses and those planning a day out in Brighton that certain central areas may experience some temporary disruption as the march follows the proposed route. However, officers will continue to liaise with the community before and during the protest and live updates will be provided on Twitter and the Sussex Police website.

Sussex Police have concerns that there may be some people attending this event whose intention is not to peacefully protest and whose behaviour will go beyond that which is acceptable. Last year saw some limited disorder, which was contained. The policing response will be firm but fair, and the police have pledged to deal robustly with anyone whose behaviour goes beyond what is acceptable within the law.

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