Protesters camped in a city centre park say they plan to stay put.

Three weeks after the Spanish Revolution group pitched tents at Old Steine, Brighton, supporters say they will stay where they are despite vocal opposition from some people.

The protesters, who are acting in solidarity with campaigners in Spain, cancelled their planned demonstration in the city centre on Saturday after a 50-strong counter-demonstration was called.

In the event, no opponents turned up and the Spanish group assembled its supporters at its camp instead of marching.

David Monteserin, a 26-year-old waiter who has lived in the city for three months and spent several nights at the camp since it began on May 22, said: “We knew there were people against the camp who were planning to protest at the same time as we wanted to protest.

“We do not know the purpose of these people and we need to protect the camp.”

He said most passers-by had reacted positively to the camp.

Brian Ralfe, who stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the Queen’s Park ward at the city council elections last month, was behind the planned counter-demonstration.

The move was prompted by anger at the misuse of public space in the city centre.

He said he decided not to go ahead with it because he believed he would need police permission, but was pleased he had disrupted the protesters’ plans.

He said: “I am so pleased to think they didn’t march because of us.

“It is a pity they didn’t march out of the city.

“The poor holidaymakers are going to go down there and I think it looks vile.”

Roger French, managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company, had warned the protesters’ planned route – from Churchill Square to Palmeira Square, then along the seafront back to Old Steine, had been likely to cause major disruption to public transport.

He said: “I am very relieved that it did not go ahead as it was a bit of a stupid time to march through the city centre, at the height of a busy Saturday afternoon.

“I am sure thousands of bus passengers who would have been disrupted are relieved too.”

Mr Monteserin said the settlement could remain even if protesters in Madrid leave the tented city they created there in anger at Spain’s economic situation.

He said: “We are independent of that movement. If that movement finishes, we need to carry on.”

Green councillor Ben Duncan, Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet member for communities, equalities and public protection, said: “A lot of people over the last week have raised concerns about public safety and disruption from the activities of those people protesting at the Old Steine.

“We have kept a close eye on the situation and if we believe public safety or disruption or crime and disorder is threatened the council will take action to ensure that does not happen.”

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