An alliance of protest groups took to the streets of Brighton and Hove today for an early May Day protest.

Groups protesting at the May Day “street party and protest” event included Smash EDO, South Coast Climate Camp, Brighton Uncut, Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, Sussex Industrial Workers of the World, No Borders Brighton, Squatters' Network of Brighton, Brighton AntiFascists, Brighton Hunt Saboteurs, students, Queer Mutiny Brighton and Brighton Benefits Campaign.

Previous demonstrations by the same groups had seen big-name shops, banks and restaurants become targets for vandalism or invasion.

The protest began on the seafront near the West Pier at midday.

Over the day police estimate about 200 people took part, and a similar number of police.

Organisers rolled a dice marked with locations in the town to decide where to target first.

The demonstration started as a march, which was "kettled" in Duke Street for some time, before splitting up into several smaller groups.

Parts of the city centre were filled with police vans and lines of officers over the afternoon as protesters ranged through the streets.

The event appeared to have finished by about 4pm, but a group of demonstrators later gathered outside Topshop and Vodafone in Western Road.

They too were "kettled" before being searched by police and escorted to Churchill Square.

Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett said: "We are happy to facilitate peaceful protest and welcome people coming to the city to express their views.

"Despite public appeals by ourselves and other people to the organisers to consider the consequences of their actions on the local community and businesses, they failed to co-operate and have been intent on causing disruption.

"They refused to follow a procession and broke off into several smaller groups making it difficult for police to provide a safe and secure environment for protesters and the public.

"This was the second protest over the two bank holiday weekends and the actions of the protesters could have impacted on shops and businesses during a difficult financial time.

"We have to balance the rights of the protesters and the rights of others who want to go about their everyday business."

A statement from Sussex Police said eight people were arrested.

They were: a 25-year-old man, who refused to provide his address, on suspicion of violent disorder following the TUC march in London last month; a 23-year-old man from Chiselhurst, Kent, on suspicion of using threatening and abusive language; a 22-year-old woman from Macclesfield, Cheshire and a 28-year-old man from Brighton, both on suspicion of failing to remove face masks; a 30-year-old man, who refused to provide his address, on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing police; a 25-year-old man, who refused to give his address, on suspicion of assault, obstructing and resisting a police officer; an 18-year-old man, who refused to give his address, on suspicion of common assault and using abusive language; a 28-year-old man from Brighton on suspicion of failing to surrender alcohol.

To replay our live multimedia coverage of the day, open our live blog, below.

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