Sussex

Occupy Brighton camp cleared away following storm

Council workers clearing away the Occupy Brighton camp
Image caption Brighton and Hove City Council workers cleared away the camp earlier

A protest camp set up in Brighton has been cleared away after being damaged by storms.

Police said the majority of the Occupy Brighton protesters left peacefully but a minority set fire to furniture and the fire service was called.

One of the officers was pushed to the ground while putting out the fire.

The leader of Brighton's Green-run council, Bill Randall, said because of this he would not tolerate another similar camp in future.

The camp was set up in Victoria Gardens at the beginning of November in response to similar camps outside St Paul's Cathedral, in London, and Wall Street, New York.

It had previously been praised by the Green administration.

'Peaceful protest'

Ch Insp Simon Nelson, from Sussex Police, said: "It is disappointing that after many weeks of peaceful occupation an event has occurred which put the safety of others at risk, damaged the environment and resulted in a public servant being assaulted.

"Most of the occupiers were committed to a peaceful protest and even assisted with clearing the site, but over a period of time the camp had been infiltrated by others who did not share this commitment."

One of the occupiers, Malcolm Cook, said the camp had started to attract people with drug and alcohol problems.

A large part of the camp's infrastructure was destroyed by bad weather, resulting in the occupiers deciding to leave.

However, he said he was proud of what the camp had accomplished.

"I'm overwhelmed with what it has achieved," he said. "The amount of attention we've received for our cause, for a few tents in the park, is outstanding."

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