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Arrests at Brighton EcoStream protests
An anti-Israel group has stepped up its action against a Brighton store.
Scores of protesters gathered at the EcoStream store in Western Road on Saturday (November 17) to campaign against the firm’s links in the Middle East.
Police were called after one protester locked himself to the front door while a second man was arrested on suspicion of harassment.
Andrzej De Virion, 23, was arrested and charged with aggravated trespass. He will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on December 6.
Jack Summers, 23, a charity worker from Worcester Villas, Hove, has been charged with using threatening words or behaviour and racial or religious harassment.
He will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on December 6.
The Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said the action was taken to demonstrate that Ecostream is unwelcome in Brighton due to the location of its main factory in the Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim.
A spokesman for the PSC said: “The action taken was in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, which urges a boycott of all Israeli companies until Israel complies with international humanitarian law, recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, the right to return of the refugees, and ends the siege of Gaza and the occupation of all lands taken in 1967.”
A spokesman for SodaStream, which owns the EcoStream store said: “While we support the right of any individual to carry out a peaceful protest, none of the staff of EcoStream, the people of Brighton nor other local Brighton businesses should have to suffer aggressive or intimidating behaviour for any reason.
“SodaStream is a non-political company, headquartered in Tel Aviv and employs Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, Christians and Jews in 20 factories around the world, including one in the West Bank. The business provides a safe, stable working environment for hundreds of employees with equal pay and healthcare.”
Chief Inspector Paul Betts said: "The protest remained outside the shop from 1pm to 3.30pm and at its peak had about 100 people.
“Protest Liaison Officers were present and spent time engaging with both groups of pro Palestinian and pro Israeli protestors and the shop."
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