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Update on Worthing election arrest

Titnore | 02.05.2008 18:09 | Ecology | Repression | South Coast

MORE details have emerged about the dramatic arrest at the Worthing council election count today. Here is an updated report:

A CANDIDATE supporting the Titnore Woods eco-protest camp in Worthing has been arrested at the election count.

Dawn Smith, who was standing for the Stop Durrington's Overdevelopment - Save Titnore's Trees party, in the borough's Northbrook ward, was arrested after a row at Worthing's Assembly Hall, apparently for "disorderly behaviour".

She was thrown to the ground by police, held down with her hands behind her back, knelt on and handcuffed, then held for four hours at Durrington police station - all for objecting to her supporters being violently ejected from the count.

Dawn, who has not been charged, explained that there was confusion over the passes for her guests at the count, who included Titnore eco-campers. Names she had registered did not seem to have been recorded, in an official bungle.

Other people, considered of "respectable" appareance, were waved through by security but they demanded ID from her supporters.

While she went to try and sort the error, some of the campers wandered through into the hall and were attacked and physically thrown out by security staff in what she called a "complete over-reaction",.

Dawn objected vocally. She said: "I shouted at them. The only reason they did this was because the guys had dreadlocks. I'm not going to stand by and see someone jumped on."

She went outside to report the assault to police, but found they were less than sympathetic and a female police officer threatened to arrest her for "shouting".

When she persisted with her complaint, explaining she was a candidate and the people ejected were her guests, she was again threatened with arrest.

She said: "I turned to go in and the next thing I knew I was on the floor."

Dawn and the campers are looking at taking legal action over the incident.