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Brighton and Hove squatters: 'The law won't stop us'
Squatters have vowed to continue highlighting empty buildings despite part of the activity being criminalised.
The vow came as about 70 people marched through Brighton and Hove yesterday in protest against the new law affecting residential properties.
Organised by the Squatters Network of Brighton (and Hove Actually), a small number of activists climbed onto the roof of a building in Western Road, Hove, and unfurled a banner saying “whatever they say, squatting will stay”.
Despite the march disrupting some traffic in the city centre, police said no arrests were made and thanked the group, which is known as SNOB (AHA), for its conduct.
A short message on SNOB(AHA) website posted yesterday said: “A very quick update on today’s mass squatting action. It was amazing.
“Some pixies dropped a banner off of the front of the Darkside ex-squat, a massive building on Western Road was occupied and coated in banners, and the march ended up at a newly squatted art gallery on London Road.”
The group gathered at Victoria Gardens, Brighton and set off at about 2.45pm.
They made their way up North Street towards the Clock Tower and along to Churchill Square and Western Road.
After climbing onto the roof, witnesses said they came off after about 30 minutes.
At about 3.40pm headed back past Churchill Square and towards St Peter's Church before stopping at Providence Place at about 4pm.
Chants during the march included “Whatever they say, squatting will stay” and “Empty houses, homeless people, that is what should be illegal.”
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, Brighton and Hove district commander, said: “About 70 people took part in the march and although they did not engage with our Protest Liaison Officers before the march, thanks to their conduct we were able to police the event with only Protest Liaison Officers and Road Policing Officers in order to keep them safe.
“We are here to facilitate peaceful protest and I hope that today's event caused minimum disruption to residents and visitors to the city centre.
“We are not aware of any offences being committed and have not made any arrests.”