Minor scuffles broke out between police and campaigners as officers tried to contain a protest march.

About 70 campaigners gathered at The Level in Brighton to protest against Moulsecoomb firm EDO MBM, which makes parts for missiles, before marching through the city centre.

Organisers had refused to reveal their exact route to police but planned to march to the Town Hall in Bartholomew Square to present a petition to Green Councillor Keith Taylor asking for a motion to be put before Brighton and Hove City Council condemning EDO.

Police, who were concerned about plans to march against traffic in one-way North Road, told protesters the march would not be allowed to the Town Hall as it would cause disruption to weddings taking place there.

There were scuffles as campaigners tried to break through police blockades at Pool Valley and North Street. Police held them on North Street, bringing traffic to a standstill and irritating shoppers who were not allowed past police lines.

Eventually Coun Taylor arrived from the Town Hall to collect the petition.

He told demonstrators: "I want to pledge to this movement the Green Party's support for your actions of conscience.

"It is a complete contradiction for Brighton, a peace messenger city, to be home to a factory making parts for weapons."

About 30 police officers flanked protesters as they set off from The Level on the Smash EDO march but another 30 were drafted in as the number of marchers swelled to more than 100.

Police were accused of being heavy handed at recent demonstrations.

In August about 100 officers surrounded a peace rally of 150 people opposing Israeli raids in Lebanon. Sussex Police said they had no way of knowing how many protesters would take part.

The breakdown of the relationship between Sussex Police and peace campaigners created a tense atmosphere throughout Saturday's march.

However, protester Chris Osmond said: "The policing for this march was far more low key than it has been at other marches. That may have been in response to the angry reaction there has been from the people of Brighton towards the police following other marches.

"The police do not have the right to demand people negotiate with them over the terms of peaceful protest."

Sussex Police said: "The group dispersed at 1.30pm. No arrests were made and minimal disruption was caused."

After the march Mr Osmond said: "The police were wrong to take away people's right to petition their own council. There was no reason for it and it caused more disruption by stopping people on North Street."

Protester Adam Kidd, who joined the march on its way, said: "I paid my council tax this year and I would like to see those funds put to better use than preventing local people from voicing their opinions in a peaceful protest."