Plea to ban annual March for England in Brighton

March for England 2013
Image caption Counter-demonstrators were behind barriers as the march moved along the seafront in April 2013

An annual nationalist march through the centre of Brighton should be banned, a senior councillor has said.

The annual March for England began in 2008 and in recent years has attracted counter-demonstrations.

Leader of the Conservative group Geoffrey Theobald said it was time for the march to be held elsewhere as it damages trade.

In 2013, police made 20 arrests for public order offences, affray, assault, theft and criminal damage.

Mr Theobald said: "The march is unfair on our visitors, on our residents and on our traders.

"Last year we had a really bad winter and then we had the first really nice weekend of the year.

"And what happened? On that day we had this march. This affected the shopkeepers and everybody. I just don't think it's fair."

Sussex Police said it could only ban the march if the force could prove it did not have resources to prevent serious disorder.

Matt Silva, from March for England, said: "Why should we surrender to threats of violence [from protesters]?

"At the end of the day we're only celebrating St George's Day.

"We've had women and children injured on the march and we don't condone violence.

"We're doing all we can for a peaceful day and we've been liaising with police since June."

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