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MP’s warning ahead of Brighton squatters’ protest
An MP has warned a city to be on guard for break-ins and “criminal acts” as squatters gather to protest this weekend.
Demonstrators are preparing to “physically challenge” police officers during the event, taking place in Brighton’s Victoria Gardens against new laws criminalising squatting.
The Squatters Network of Brighton, SNOB, which has organised the event, has urged supporters to “physically challenge” police and to “block them with banners (or umbrellas)” but has so far refused to say how many squatters they expect to join the protest today (Saturday, October 13) or how long they plan to stay in the park.
Meanwhile Hove MP Mike Weatherley warned city residents to “be vigilant” after the group compiled a hit list of targets, including his constituency office.
Sussex Police said they had been trying to work with the protesters, but had been met with a wall of silence.
SNOB told supporters on its website: “Don’t talk to them [police], don’t engage with them, and if possible physically challenge their presence on the action.”
Mr Weatherley, who helped implement the new law, said: “Residents and businesses should be on guard over the weekend for any break-ins and criminal acts.
“These people have no respect for other people’s property and exhibit utter contempt for our laws and, indeed, society generally.”
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett said: “We have made every effort to liaise with the group.
“Because of their failure to engage with us so far this lack of contact will affect how we plan to police the event. We urge organisers to work with us and get in contact.
“By doing this we hope to enable a more successful and organised protest, a safe environment for the protesters and others in the city and to better plan for and manage any disruption to other members of the community.
“We will share plans around our proposed policing operations to improve their understanding and hope that with a better picture of protesters’ intentions, we can police proportionately and reduce the number of officers assigned to a protest.”
Last year the city council allowed the Occupy Brighton protest group to camp in |Victoria Gardens for more than a month.
The protest is due to begin in Victoria Gardens from 2pm.
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