Police made mass arrests at the end of a protest in Brighton against arms manufacturer EDO MBM. Around a hundred, mostly local, activists from the Smash EDO campaign attempted to evade police throughout the day to get near the arms factory.
Police mass arrested over 35 protesters, including a legal observer, who had been kettled on Lewes road for a breach of the peace. Sussex police said ‘many would be released without charge as a breach of the peace was prevented’.
EDO MBM manufacture the release mechanism for bombs on F-16 & F-18 fighter planes used by the Israeli Defence Force.
Around 30 protesters, mainly English Defence League supporters, joined a march organised by the English Nationalist Alliance through Brighton. They were given a heavy police escort as they marched through the town and were heckled by locals and anti-fascist counter-protesters. Police arrested several anti-fascist protesters as they attempted to stop the march through Brighton.
Yesterday the Brighton based group SmashEDO held a protest against the arms manufacturer EDO MBM whose factory is based in Moulescoomb just outside of Brighton. Past protests outside the factory have been violent, with protesters getting inside the compound, smashing windows and entering the factory.
This time was no different, with arrests taking place before the march had started and riot police being deployed using batons, shields and CS spray.
But half an hour before the protest was due to start as my colleague and I sat in the car a member of the Police Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) began filming us from across the road before coming over and asking who we were. After identifying ourselves as members of the press and showing our UK Press cards the officer continued to question and film us.
Whilst this was not as bad as the treatment we received at Climate Camp earlier in the year where our car was continually stopped and searched by police, in one case officers knew who I was and that I was journalist before I even spoke to them but I was searched regardless.
Later on when we left the car and stood under the covering of a railway station to shelter from the rain whilst we waited for the protest to begin Police told us that we would have to move and weren’t allowed to photograph near the station where protesters would be arriving.
There is no law against photographing railway stations or their surrounds, this officer was clearly being officious and confrontational, but I felt that if I had taken a picture I would of been very quickly bundled into the back of a police van.
During the protest journalists were also assaulted by police, photojournalist Marc Vallée was pushed back violently as he was photographing protesters and photographer Guy Smallman was bitten by a police attack dog which required medical attention.
The Police’s job would certainly be easier if we weren’t around to photograph what they do, but there is a clearly a very good reason to do so. This job isn’t getting any easier.
You can view my full set of images of the protest here