Activist 'threatened with arrest' over city centre protest - police reviewing case

Kellie-Jay Keen in Brighton in September 2022 <i>(Image: Eddie Mitchell)</i>
Kellie-Jay Keen in Brighton in September 2022 (Image: Eddie Mitchell)

Police are reviewing the case of an activist who claims she was threatened with arrest following a protest.

Kellie-Jay Keen said she was told she would be arrested if she did not submit to a police interview over an alleged hate crime.

Ms Keen, who describes herself as a women’s rights activist, says that she has declined the interview.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The individual was asked to assist with our enquiries by attending a voluntary interview.

"We are reviewing the matter and will liaise with the parties involved directly.”

Ms Keen was contacted in relation to an alleged hate crime incident in Brighton on September 18.

She said that the alleged offence was the “use of words or behaviour to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation".

Hundreds of protesters descended on Victoria Gardens in the city when Ms Keen, also known as Posie Parker, visited as part of a national tour.

Her visit was met by a significant number of counter-protesters who view Ms Keen’s stance on transgender rights as transphobic.

The protest became heated and a significant police presence was needed to keep the two sides apart.

The Argus: Groups separated at the protest in Victoria Gardens
The Argus: Groups separated at the protest in Victoria Gardens

Groups separated at the protest in Victoria Gardens (Image: Eddie Mitchell)

Three people were arrested on the day of the event. Two have now been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

A third was initially arrested on suspicion of sexual assault by touching but has instead been charged with assault and two counts of possession of a bladed article.

A statement from Sussex Police said: "An event and counter-protest took place in Brighton City Centre on Sunday 18 September.

"Three arrests were made, a woman aged 19 was detained on suspicion of assault and a 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.

"They have both been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

"A man who was arrested originally on suspicion of sexual assault by touching has now been charged.

"Craig Thomas, 50, of no fixed address, has been charged with assault and two counts of possession of a bladed article. He has been released on bail ahead of a trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court scheduled for January 18."

Ms Keen said that she has had a number of interactions with police but that she has no intention of assisting with investigations.