Police are promising to remove children from a mass demonstration today if it turns violent.

Thousands of pupils and students are expected to join a march to Hove Town Hall in protest at education cuts and a rise in university tuition fees.

Officers are warning children they will use powers under the Children Act extricate children from the protest if they are deemed at risk of “significant harm”.

But police refused to comment on how the powers would be used and would not confirm how many officers will be on the streets today.

Yesterday, Superintendent Steve Whitton, who is heading the police operation, urged parents to talk to children about the “consequences of their behaviour”.

He said: “Many people expressed concern that there were children involved in the recent demonstration, some of whom found that they were held in containments by police to prevent further breaches of the peace and to allow police to carry out controlled dispersals. I would like to make a direct plea to parents and carers of the school children and young teenagers who intend to take part in the protest: please speak to your child and make sure they understand the consequences of their behaviour. They may render themselves vulnerable if they follow 'the crowd' and those not directly affiliated with the cause who are intent on taking over the protest for their own means.”