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Brighton and Hove braces itself for annual March for England
More than a thousand nationalists and anti-fascist protesters will descend on Brighton and Hove tomorrow for the annual March for England.
Roads will be closed, businesses shut and hundreds of police officers, dogs and horses stationed throughout the city.
Last year saw running battles between opposing groups with bloody punch-ups just yards from day-trippers and locals.
A significant Sussex Police presence will be attempting to prevent similar scenes this year with the help of other forces.
Superintendent Steve Whitton said: “Unlawful behaviour – or that which goes beyond what could be considered reasonable in terms of peaceful protest – will not be tolerated.”
For the second year running the march will be held along the seafront road, the A259, with the hope of isolating any trouble.
It was thought yesterday’s road collapse could see the march cancelled, but police have decided to instead shift the starting point a hundred yards further along.
The march, which is due to start at 12.30pm, will go east along King’s Road to Pool Valley before returning to Middle Street.
A number of roads connected to the seafront will be closed to traffic including Middle Street, Ship Street, Black Lion Street, East Street, Little East Street and the A259 from the Palace Pier roundabout.
Event organisers, who stage the march on the Sunday nearest to St George’s Day, say it is “a celebration of being English”.
Meanwhile, anti-protesters have branded it as nothing more than an opportunity for open racism and violence.
The Argus contacted March for England organisers but at the time of going to press they had not responded.
However, a statement on their website read: “We welcome everyone to March for England, regardless of colour, culture or religion or non-religion.
“United we can make this country a more better place, free from a undemocratic government that ignores the people, free from hardline extremists of all religions or fascist groups that bring non cohesion and so much more.
“We are English and proud – proud not racist.”
Traditionally, those taking part in the march have been heavily outnumbered by anti fascist activists.Tony Campbell, from Stop the March for England, told The Argus the same was expected on Sunday.
He said: “We will drown out their message and show that Brighton and Hove is not going to put up with the message they are hoping to spread.”
For all the latest on the day including a live blog see www.theargus.co.uk. For a full report and pictures see Monday’s paper.
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