The G20 protester slapped by a police officer has been arrested at a demonstration in the past, The Argus can reveal.

Nicola Fisher, of Wakefield Road, Brighton, has been thrust into the national spotlight after footage of the assault on her was posted on YouTube.

She has been accused in some sections of the media of provoking her attacker.

The incident on April 2 is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

It was one of several incidents which have prompted a national debate over policing at demonstrations, including the death of Ian Tomlinson after he was shoved by a policeman.

The Argus can reveal the incident was not the first time Miss Fisher, known to her friends as Nicky, has been a prominent figure in protests.

She was arrested outside the Brighton Centre in June 1993 as hundreds of animal rights campaigners demonstrated at a vivisectionists' conference.

Miss Fisher burst from the crowd to throw water from a plastic bottle over a delegate and was grabbed by a policeman. It was reported at the time that she had thrown the rest of the bottle at the officer.

She was charged with disorderly behaviour but given a conditional discharge by magistrates.

Miss Fisher has been in hiding for days but spoke to The Argus before returning home at the weekend.

She admitted pouring water over the vivisectionist but denied throwing water or a bottle at the policeman.

She said: "I didn't have a run in with the police in 1993, I poured the water over a vivisector and I got arrested. I got grabbed from behind by both arms and I didn't know who was grabbing me and chucked the bottle on the floor."

The five foot tall 35-year-old said she was not violent but was passionate about the causes she believed in, particularly animal welfare and climate change, and was prepared to stand up for them.

She said she did not dislike the police, have a grudge against them or deliberately try to wind them up.

She added that the Brighton Centre incident happened in a heated moment when she was 19 and although she has continued to attend protests, she now stays away from the "front line".

She said she was shocked and traumatised by what had happened to her in London and hoped it would lead to changes in policing.

She said: "There's a wider problem with the whole police force, their training, their tactics."

Ms Fisher showed the long black and red bruise on her thigh where she was hit by the policeman's baton. The sergeant, who works for the Territorial Support Group, has been suspended from duty pending the IPCC inquiry.

She said: “It was very violent and aggressive and unnecessary."

Unemployed Miss Fisher, who lives with her dog Poppy and her boyfriend Gavin Shepherd, 30, works as a volunteer for East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service.

She said she would use money earned by selling her story to a national paper to support her to continue working voluntarily.

She denied she would receive £50,000 as part of a deal with publicist Max Clifford, as has been reported.