Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Liveblog: Smash EDO's Brighton funeral march
9:57am Monday 18th January 2010 in News
Smash EDO is holding another protest in Brighton today to mark the anniversary of the Gaza War.
The last big scale demonstration the group held in the city on Mayday last year caused widespread disruption.
It is not known how many people will attend today's demo, but The Argus will bring you updates from the scene. Reporting team: Ben Parsons, Andy Chiles, Simon Dack, Sam Stephenson, Jo Wadsworth.
- Smash EDO says 100 protesters in city last night
- About 200 protesters on the march today
- Police attempt to give notice of possible restrictions of protesters activities, but are roundly ignored
- Protesters get past police blockade of Home Park Road and approach EDO factory through the woods
- A standoff situation develops as protesters attempt to push their way through a police line on a footpath approaching the EDO factory
- Protesters briefly scale the roof of a building on the industrial estate, but are pushed back by police
- The EDO factory announces it is closing early for the day
- Protesters regroup and march along Lewes Road towards the city centre
- The march reaches Elm Grove, and protesters are told they will be allowed as far as The Level, but no further
- Protesters ignore police and make their way to North Laine
- About 50 protesters are kettled in North Road while the rest of the march disperses
- The march finally disperses at 7pm - in total there are four arrests.
- Click here to view all our pictures of the protest
- Click here to view a video shot by John Thompson of the protest in North Road
Send us your protest pictures or tell us your stories by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Text photos to 80360, starting your message with SUPIC and saying who you are, where the photo was taken and what it shows. Alternatively call The Argus on 01273 544514.
10am Police and protesters are making their final ahead of an anti-arms demonstration.
Smash EDO campaigners, who claim the EDO factory in Moulsecoomb makes parts for weapons used in military action by Israel in Palestine, are due to march through Wild Park this afternoon.
Hundreds of protesters, their ranks bolstered by supporters from around the country, are expected to try to reach the factory site itself in nearby Home Farm Road.
Police have not indicated how close senior officers are prepared to allow them to go.
Smash EDO has repeatedly snubbed invitations by police to discuss routes, numbers and possible disruption.
Today's Remember Gaza event, which begins at 1pm at Wild Park Cafe, is being held to commemorate Palestinian deaths in Israeli military action last year.
The factory denies it supplies Israel with weapon parts.
Protesters are asked to wear black, before carrying symbolic coffins to the factory site. It is the first large-scale demo for more than a year to focus on the site itself.
10.10am One of the reasons police are taking today's demo seriously is because the organisers are encouraging people from around the country to attend.
10.15am Police intelligence officers often film protesters at Smash EDO demos, and in the run-up to them.
These units, known as Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) sometimes find themselves on the end of a camera themselves. The FIT watch blog says it will be monitoring officers at the march today.
10.20am For anyone who missed the last protest, on May 4 last year, here's a video map showing the disruption it caused.
10.40am It's not just protesters who will be on the march. Local doorman Jason is going along just to see what happens.
He tweeted: "Let's see how much damage #smashEDO protesters do today... lets hope the cake shop don't get it."
10.50am The Smash EDO demonstrations are always controversial in the city because of the effect they have on people who have nothing to do with EDO - and the fact protesters often refuse to tell police where they plan to march.
But what do you think? Have your say in our poll here:
11am Smash EDO reports 100 people attended a meeting ahead of the demonstration at the Cowley Club in London Road, Brighton, last night.
A spokesman said members of the police's FIT team were watching the club from a spot outside Somerfield across the road, but no photographs were being taken.
He said a "large number" of people have travelled to Brighton from across the country, including Yorkshire, Cornwall and London, for today's demonstration.
Finally, here's what an independent watchdog said.
12.10pm Police say they are hoping to open a dialogue with protesters before the event begins in Wild Park to establish their intentions.
Unlike last May's demonstration in Brighton, the public order operation is being staffed entirely using Sussex Police officers.
Chief officers have granted authorisation under section 14 of the Public Order Act for officers to impose limits on the demonstration if there is concern of a threat of serious disorder, damage or disruption to the public.
Superintendent Steve Barry said police had obtained the same power during last May's demonstration but it was not used.
He said no advance decision has been taken over whether the demonstration will be allowed to reach Home Farm Road and the EDO factory site and the police response to the march's progress will depend on numbers and what officers see as the intentions of the protesters.
12.50pm Crime reporter Ben Parsons is now at the scene. He said: "It looks like quite a low key affair. There are six police cars, four vans, some horses and several police officers who have been looking in the woods above the park. There's probably about a dozen police officers on the ground.
"There are about two dozen protesters carrying placards and a coffin."
12.55pm Police are attempting to serve the Section 14 notice, but many of the protesters are ignoring officers and walking away.
1.15pm The numbers have swelled to about 100. There's still no movement.
The protesters have brought a soundsystem and are playing angry music on it.
Sarah Collins, 18, politics student from Sussex University and a support of students against EDO said she and other protesters had covered their faces with scarves not only to avoid police surveillance but also to identify with "the faceless victims of the arms trade".
She said: "We are here to show our anger and outrage over the production of military parts used by the Israeli airforce."
"We are here today to show we don't want this going on in Brighton."
1.45pm The cafe has now emptied onto the grass of the Wild Park. Reporter Ben Parsons estimates there are about 150 protesters present.
The police are still in small groups of about half a dozen or so around the outskirts of the park.
Superintendent Steve Barry said the protesters had rejected his efforts to engage with them and to notify them of the potential use of the public order legislation.
At 1.45pm a siren went off and a woman began addressing the crowd with a loudspeaker.
She invited the crowd to join her in marching to the factory.
2pm The march has moved off towards Lewes Road. Behind banners saying "Blood on your hands" featuring red handprints and "Remember Gaza" the protesters are shouting "Smash, smash, smash EDO".
The protesters are about to reach the Lewes Road and a small line of police officers is forming with officers on horseback ahead of the march.
Superintendent Steve Barry said: "The difficulty I have as commander is that nobody is telling us what their intentions are.
"We have attempted to hand out notices regarding potential restrictions of their activities but nobody wants to talk to us. "We want to facilitate a peaceful process, however they don't want to talk to us."
Home Farm Road, about 400m away from the head of the march, is blocked by police vans and lines of officers.
2.05pm The protesters are heading north along Lewes Road. Police have blocked traffic near the viaduct.
The protesters are at the junction of Home Park Road, which is being completely blocked by police lines.
2.10pm The vast majority of the protesters have broken through the woods and are scaling a very steep ridge.
The police at the Home Park Road barricade are not chasing them, but it's expected more officers will be present outside the EDO factory itself.
2.25pm The protest has moved through the woods to reach the factory, where police dogs can be heard.
2.30pm Many of the protesters have crossed open land behind the factory at the southern end of Wild Park where police officers and horses stand at the rear of the factory.
2.35pm Having gathered behind the factory on the open land, the police line opened to allow protesters down a footpath along the back fence of the industrial estate.
There's now a standoff with police blocking their progress along the footpath.
he protesters are now attempting to climb along a steep bank between the Forfars factory compound and the railway line but police are not allowing the protesters through.
2.40pm Protesters have now scrambled down the bank and are still contained within the police line.
There's a hand to hand struggle between a mass of protesters and the police line.
Horses are moving through the ranks of protesters to reach the police line.
Five missiles were seen to be thrown by protesters over the heads of police.
2.45pm The protesters are now trying to move back towards the open ground via the footpath.
Police said at this stage there have been no arrests, and no officers injured.
2.50pm Protesters seem to have breached a fence at the back of the industrial estate and have dropped onto a roof and police are now trying to pick them off.
They are now coming back through to evade the police.
2.55pm The EDO factory has just announced over a loud hailer that it is closing for the day.
Protesters have started to march away from the factory.
3pm The police have now forced the protesters back onto the open ground and the column is moving back towards the woods overlooking Lewes Road.
One protester was injured and treated by two men wearing black hooded tops and red cross armbands.
3.10pm The protest is now breaking up. About 50 protesters are still on the open land by the Wild Park Café. The others have moved off towards Lewes Road.
3.25pm The protesters who went into the woods have now regrouped with those who stayed at the barricade at the top of Home Farm Road.
All the protesters are now marching south down Lewes Road towards the city centre. It's now estimated there are about 300 people on the march.
3.30pm A police car and three vans have headed from Home Park Road towards Lewes Road and the march.
3.55pm On the way down Lewes Road, police attempted to stop the flow of the march a couple of times, sparking a couple of scuffles and prompting some to run up side roads.
The march then shuffled down Lewes Road, and stopped opposite Mithras House.
It is now slowly moving into town, and is passing the Vogue Gyratory, with demonstrators chanting "Smash EDO".
The numbers have decreased, but there are still at least 200 people on the march.
4.10pm Police have formed a line across Lewes Road at the junction with Elm Grove.
An officer has announced over a loudspeaker that the protest will be able to continue at The Level, but for the protection of the people of Brighton and Hove, it will not be allowed to travel anywhere else within the city.
He is issuing the Section 14 order which police advised protesters would be issued earlier in the day.
The protesters are chanting: "Whose streets? Our streets!"
4.25pm Protesters have gone through The Level gone along the London Road and are walking up into North Laine along Pelham Street and into Sydney Street.
Reporter Andy Chiles said: "The atmosphere is generally okay, but it is a bit pushey and shovey."
One of the crowd lobbed a dart into the air, which hit photographer Sam Stephenson. Fortunately, he was unhurt.
4.30pm Police are attempting to stop protesters making their way through North Laine.
There are now groups of demonstrators in North Road, Jubilee Street and Kensington Gardens.
Protesters are trying to evade the police by running down side streets.
4.35pm The reaction from people living and working in North Laine is not particularly positive.
James Devonport tweeted: "There was me thinking we had got away with it, the yobbos just arrived on Trafalgar Street."
And web designer superlative tweeted: "Tsk, looks like I'm getting the train home due to the idiotic #smashEDO protesters. I'm not risking the bus."
4.45pm The march has completely broken up and it's unclear where everyone is. There is still one group of about 50 in North Road.
Police are evidently expecting them to make their way to North Street, where about 40 police officers are guarding Barclays.
4.50pm According to Sussex Police, the protesters are mainly in pockets in North Laine. There are a few remaining near the factory, although there have not been any attempts to get in there.
4.50pm Photographs from the Moulsecoomb part of the protest are now being uploaded - click here to view them.
5pm Journalist John Thompson took this footage of the protest in North Road:
5.05pm Some of the protest is still in the London Road area.
Rosie Clarke tweets: "#smashedo protest in Brighton must be going along London Road - or maybe even closer - can now hear a full on sound system!"
5.10pm The soundsystem, which is attached to the back of a bicycle, is now in North Road, and currently playing dub, contributing to a more peaceful atmosphere.
Police are still containing a hard core of about 50 protesters there.
Some people are trying to get around the blockade, but ending up walking around the block.
Police said they did not know how long they were going to keep the protesters there.
5.15pm As the protest dies down, Cennydd Bowles tweets: "Poked my head round at the #smashEDO riots outside our office. Cameras and police outnumbering protestors."
And as if to prove his point, journalist Ed Martin leaves his office at journalism.co.uk to tweet: "Favourite police-baiting taunts from #brighton #smashedo 'WHY ARE YOU SWEATING? IT'S NOT THE RIGHT WEATHER' and 'SISSIES! SISSIES!'"
5.20 The protesters are still being contained. Quite a lot of people are standing around outside Wagamama - some in school uniform - simply watching the police.
It's believed the rest of the march has dispersed.
Wendy McAngus tweeted: "Police horses just clip clopped their way down the Old Steine looking like they are on their way home."
5.50pm The police release the remaining protesters from the kettle in North Road.
One of them, who calls himself Jonnie Marbles, tweeted: "Just released from #smashedo kettle. If u don't know what a kettle is, imagine a prison where the walls are all made of t***s."
6.30pm Photographer Sam Stephenson has returned to the office - still carrying the dart which was thrown at him:
7pm Sussex Police has released a statement about the protest.
Brighton and Hove City Commander, Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett said: "Once again, during a demonstration organised by Smash EDO, we have seen intimidating behaviour and sporadic outbreaks of disorder within Wild Park, Home Farm Road and the city centre.
"Members of public including many visitors trying to go about their normal business have clearly been frightened by the behaviour of a small minority of protestors and many have faced disruption.
"As at 7.00pm, there were four arrests for public order offences. We will continue to investigate any other offences that have occurred and where possible bring those responsible to justice.
"We aimed to facilitate peaceful protest, safeguarding the public and minimising disruption, and made concerted efforts to engage with the organisers about their intentions today. Once again, for future events, I urge those who wish to hold demonstrations in the city to abide by the law and notify the police of their intentions in advance so that jointly we can plan a safe but visible event which respects their right to protest and others rights to go about their business free from intimidation and violence.
"The officers involved in policing today's demonstration are the same officers who work in our local communities providing the policing service expected of us.
"We would all rather see them helping to resolve local issues in their neighbourhoods. We are used to policing larger demonstrations than this with far fewer officers due to the organisers engaging with us and being part of the planning process."
7.30pm Smash EDO has also issued a press statement about the day's events and hailed the demonstration as a great success.
It said: "Over 300 people turned out to commemorate the anniversary of the aerial bombardment of Gaza with banners and symbolic coffins.
"A dynamic crowd broke free from police control and streamed through the woods to surround the factory from three sides.
"The factory, target of a long running campaign by the Smash EDO protest group, was surrounded in a symbolic re-enactment of the siege of Gaza."
Smash EDO spokeswoman Chloe Marsh said: "The fact that this weapons' components factory was forced to close for a day is a fitting memorial to the 1,417 murdered victims of the aerial bombardment of Gaza."