For Immediate release:
17th December 2007
Chris Dowdeswell (Western Animal Rights Network) – 01452 539673
There are also two videos of the days events here:
Approximately 150 protesters marched through Ledbury town centre on Saturday 15th December. Police were out in force with approximately 200 police officers from various forces including West Mercia, Cambridge, West Midlands, Staffordshire and Thames Valley. Police on the day had decided to impose a Section 14 and 12 Public Order Act on the march to try and limit the number of protesters outside the lab to only fifteen.
Some police were heavy handed with those who tried to hand out leaflets to the public one police officer from Staffordshire police hurled a female protester into the marchers when she attempted to give information to the public.
In response to police oppression in Ledbury by West Mercia police five protesters used arm tubes to create a blockade of the main Ledbury road, one of the arm tubes had a poster wrapped around it which read “Protest by right, not by police permission”.
Police responded in the only way they know, which was to use violence against the remaining protesters to make space so the police to use a circular saw to cut the activists free from the tubes. Two activists attempted to lock themselves together by the neck using a D-lock but police threw the female activist by the lock which was still attached to her neck to the floor and arrested her. All five were eventually cut from the arm tubes, arrested and taken to Leominster Police station held for 10 hours and released on police bail accused of blocking the public highway. Three of the five activists documented injuries at the police station as a result of the police action taken whilst they were immobilised by the tubes.
A group of activists who travelled from Leeds for the march were told if they walked within fifty metres of each other on the way back to their minibus they would be arrested for a breach of Section 14 for an unauthorised assembly by another Staffordshire police officer.
The public who were interviewed by the Ledbury Portal showed disgust at the numbers of police considering the lack of police available in small rural towns such as Ledbury. The Western Animal Rights Network are happy with the way the march played out, it is unfortunate that we live in a time where our protest rights have been so limited that we have to resort to civil disobedience.
We understand that many members of the public are unsure about what happens at Sequani and whether their animal research actually saves lives, we hope to open an arena for debate over these issues and offer an invitation to Sequani workers and management to debate the issues surround such controversial subjects as “deodorant efficacy” and other vital life saving research such as sanitary products which ‘cure’ period pains.
A number of members of the public tried to intervene during the police violence towards those involved in the blockade, we thank those people who are willing to stand up to bullying from those our taxes pay to protect us.
We hope that in the coming months we can bring the issues surrounding vivisection and animal rights to public arena and will be holding regular protests at Sequani.