In response to the ban on squatting being passed in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Squatters and their supporters took a meandering march through Brighton and Hove today.
At 2pm, around a hundred squatters and supporters gathered at Victoria Square Gardens (the site of the now evicted Occupy Brighton camp) in the centre of town. A soundsystem blasted out Gabba and the squatters started to march, with narry a copper in sight.
The first target was Brighton town hall, which was briefly picketed. Squatters marched on to the seafront, chanting “Whatever they say, Squatting will stay!” The march quickly picked up a large escort of coppers as it marched along the seafront towards Hove. Police were trying to force people out of the road they were blocking, on to the pavement. One particularly agressive uniformed thug hit a squatter in the chest with his re-enforced glove for the slightly dubious crime of walking too fast. For a while things were very tense, and it seemed like things were gonna kick off, but then the coppers backed off and allowed the march to continue, albeit in a mobile kettle.
After marching along the seafront for half an hour or so, the marchers surprised the cops by cutting through a residental street to blockade Western Road, Brighton’s main shopping thoroughfare, then turned back on themselves to march along Western Road towards Churchill Square mall and the centre of town. Around halfway down, the mobile kettle that had escorted the march since the seafront suddenly dissolved, the police decamping back into their vans, which promptly drove away, leaving the march totally free and starting the hilarious chant “We don’t need no cops, all we need are squats!”
Squatters marched past Churchill Square, down North Street (another main shooping street) and then along London road and down to the level without incident, deciding it was time for a party. However, it was not to be. Around 5 minutes after the squatters arrived, the mysterious vanishing police escort returned. 9 vans of riot police, a cctv van and a FIT team turned up to crash the party, provoking a brief confrontation before squatters decamped to the beach to continue the party.