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Liberal Democrats greeted by protests outside conference at Brighton Centre
Hundreds of protesters marched through Brighton at the start of the Liberal Democrat conference this weekend.
Cries of “Shame on you Nick” could be heard as crowds of people from all different groups marched from The Level, past the Clock Tower, ending up outside the Brighton Centre .
A sign which read “Never trust a Tory – or a Liberal” was held by one protester.
The conference started on Saturday and runs until Wednesday and was expected to be attended by more than 2,500 delegates.
After the main protest on Saturday, splinter groups that are anti the Government’s workfare scheme gathered outside shops in the city centre including Poundland and Primark.
They held up banners and used a loudspeaker to alert people to what they believe are unfair business practices.
Sussex Police said Poundland was closed as a consequence of the protest, although it is not believed any violence took place.
Sussex Police did not release a formal statement but said on Twitter: “The procession hasmoved along the agreed route and protesters are making their way to the Brighton Centre with minimum disruption.
“The procession has peacefully assembled for speeches to begin.
“People have now moved on from the Brighton Centre. Small groups are gathered at other locations in the city. All engaging so far.
“Poundland in Western Road has decided to close temporarily due to the protest outside the shop.”
Some protestors said they were unhappy with the heavy security measures surrounding the Brighton Centre because of the conference.
Eddie Richardson, 59, from Ringmer, referred to the “ring of steel” – metal fencing preventing people who are not accredited from going near it.
Mr Richardson was with Cat Rowe, 33, from Hanover, Brighton.
Both were hoping to draw Nick Clegg’s attention to the behaviour of banks.
Ben Kidd, from Occupy Brighton, said: “We are here because we’re calling for a Free Party Conference.”
There were also protesters from anti-fracking groups, anti-nuclear power station groups, Queers Against Cuts, the Socialist Liberal Forum, the PCS and the Brighton Benefits Campaign.
The theme of the conference is “fairer tax in tough times” where Mr Clegg is promising to ensure that the next government spending review will not include further spending cuts without a measure of wealth tax. During the conference so far, Mr Clegg has insisted the coalition will not make future spending cuts “on the backs of the poor” and urged the Conservatives to back a “wealth tax”.
Mr Clegg also unveiled plans to allow people receiving large sums of money on retirement to use them to help underwrite their children's mortgages.
The Lib Dems have also voted against new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and against plans for a Thames Estuary airport.
Delegates atthe party's conference passed a motion rejecting major aviation expansion in the South East.
Earlier this week Mr Clegg apologised for breaking his pre-election promise notto support an increase in tuition fees.
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