A “LAW-ABIDING citizen” felt “intimidated” when police contacted her at work to dissuade her from holding a beach barbecue – which she knew nothing about.
Beth Granter said officers called her at her office asking to speak to her about events that officers believed she was planning over the Pride weekend.
The 31-year-old believes she was “singled-out” for being a founder of peaceful protest group Brighton Queers Against The Cuts and for previously being involved in a number of “law-abiding” protests including at Pride 2012 and at the Coca-Cola’s Santa truck in Jubilee Square over the drinks firm sponsorship of the Winter Olympics in notoriously anti-LGBT Russia.
Sussex Police defended the move as a routine measure designed to ensure privately organised events did not get out of control.
But Ms Granter, from Brighton, said: “It’s quite scary. They said they needed to bring me a letter for my own safety but it wasn’t for my own safety. They were trying to intimidate me because I have organised demonstrations in the past.
“They were holding me accountable for a Facebook page where almost everybody in the LGBT community is posting about different events.
“I was warned about this kind of police behaviour by activist friends but I thought because I wasn’t doing anything extreme, nothing like that would happen to me.
“I have a professional job in digital marketing. I am not an anarchist living in a squat.”
After some research Ms Granter found details about a barbecue had been posted on the Queers Against Cuts Facebook page by one of the group’s 181 online members – and by someone she is not friends with.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Betts said it was routine to contact people about events they were involved in and talking about on social media.
He added: “Our role in Pride is to keep people safe and this involves contacting people who may be involved in organising any events.
“We want people to have fun during Pride but want to make sure we talk to people who may be involved in events which attract a lot of people to help them be aware that some people could be using the events to commit offences.
“This is something we have done for the last few years, after privately organised events that got out of hand. There was no intention to intimidate and she was not singled out.”