Today’s demonstration in Brighton abused the memory of those who died in Gaza

Returning to Brighton this afternoon after a few days abroad, I encountered the anti-EDO, ‘remember Gaza’ demonstration, but the youths on the street seemed more intent on provoking the police than paying respect to the victims of the Israeli assault on Palestinians.  I saw a poster promoting the demo – it had a picture of Gaza and a picture of demonstrators and police clashing in a similar demonstration last year in Brighton.

I was angered by two things: the overwhelming display of force by the police – horses, riot gear, and so on.  Generally officers appeared to be focused on restraint, but from the little I saw, it would not take much for the policing to turn very ugly.  However, I felt greater anger at the demonstrators who were using the human tragedy that is Gaza as an excuse to have a go at the police.  It felt like the ultimate insult to the victims of Israeli aggression to use their suffering as cover for juvenile, anarchistic provocation of the police.

I recall a time when demonstrations were disciplined and stewarded.  They were about issues and not an excuse for confronting the police. The demonstrators today abused the memories of those who died in Gaza.  I am disgusted by their self-indulgence.

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Tories Declare War on Greens

It had gone also very quiet. It seemed as though all local politicians had gone away on holiday. Until now.

In what is clearly the opening salvo an all-out battle between the Conservatives and the Greens on Brighton and Hove City Council (there is no sign of Labour after the Goldsmid victory for the Greens), Cllr Dawn Barnett has attacked Green councillor Ben Duncan, the Green’s candidate for Brighton Kemp Town at the general election, for entries on his blog. She has picked on the Smash EDO March in the City on May 4.

She is quoted as saying, “A Green party councillor was using his blog to advertise the protest. Is this really how our elected representatives should be behaving? That the police were forced to use this amount of local taxpayers money in order to protect the city’s residents and visitors from the demonstrators is nothing short of disgraceful. I am all for freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest but the physical damage at these events and the disruption to the lives of residents and visitors is simply not acceptable”.

So the Tories believe in qualified right to protest, and are now trying to say what someone can say on his orher blog. A slippery slope, me thinks,

I support Ben Duncan who has said, “Maintaining a blog is an essential part of what I do as a councillor to let people know what is going on. I was delighted by Sussex Police’s approach to policing the protests which meant we didn’t have any major trouble”.

Beware Greens, the Tories will stop at nothing, truth or lies, to try to undermine your ever increasing support base in Brighton and Hove. Come to think of it, Labour will probably do likewise.