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Brighton Smash EDO protests cost taxpayer more than £700,000
The total cost to the taxpayer for the Smash EDO demonstrations has topped £700,000.
The latest march on the EDO factory site in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, and the disturbances that followed in the city centre have added to the toll on Sussex Police’s ailing finances.
Police said the cost of their operation for Monday’s protest cannot yet be estimated but the demonstration ran a similar course to an October 2008 event, which cost the force £50,000.
If Monday cost the same amount, added to the £560,000 bill for a major protest in central Brighton last May, another £30,000 incurred in 2008 and the cost of policing weekly demonstrations since 2005, the total figure is likely to exceed £700,000.
Cash-strapped Sussex Police are facing a £35m funding shortfall over the next five years and are already planning to cut officer and staff numbers.
After Monday’s protest, a spokesman for Smash EDO said: “The policing costs are not any of our business.
“The police are responsible for their own costs.
“The police are acting as a private security company for a private arms company.”
The campaigners claim EDO produces parts for weapons used in illegal military action by Israel in Palestine - an allegation the firm denies.
Sussex Police Authority has asked the Home Office to pay the cost of May’s demonstration but the Government’s decision has not yet been made public.