A PROTESTER was given a police microphone and allowed to stand on top of a van to help disperse crowds.

It was feared the Black Lives Matter march would boil over when the 10,000-strong crowd reached the Old Steine war memorial and faced off with a group wanting to “protect it from harm” in Brighton.

The protest came to a complete standstill as demonstrators began to encircle the memorial to berate the group, some of whom were drinking lager.

However, the confrontation was calmed by the efforts of a protester who was given a microphone by a quick-thinking police officer.

Speaking on top of the bonnet of a Sussex Police van, Bobby Brown told the crowd: “We are not here to be provoked.

“I beg you, don’t waste your energy here, let’s go to The Level - the intended place to speak.”

Mr Brown was then allowed to stand on to a bin to address another section of the crowd, where he asked protesters what they were gaining by shouting at those on the memorial.

To rounds of applause, the protest began to move again, with Mr Brown continuing his efforts until the entire march had passed the memorial.

His speeches came after an hour-long standoff between the groups, in which a police medic was hit with a water bottle.

Speaking to The Argus at The Level, Mr Brown said: “I was trying to maintain the purpose of the protest and quell the aggravation.

“No one was there to smash up a war memorial.

“The purpose of the protest was to let our voices be heard.

“I engaged with the people at the memorial, who told me they thought it was their duty to protect the memorial.

“We came to the understanding that everyone could do with better education.”

Those at the memorial were seen attempting a friendly elbow to elbow greeting with Mr Brown, in place of a handshake, after a friendly discussion.

Superintendent Rachel Swinney said: “I’d like to thank our officers and the community, who worked together to ensure yesterday’s protests concluded peacefully.

“At one point an individual was provided with a loud speaker and permitted to stand on a police vehicle for a short period so his messages for calm could be seen and heard, and this ensured the procession passed safely through the city centre without incident.”