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Animal Rights Protestors Attacked

Reports from activists, May 2007

I am preparing for yet another court appearance. Within the last year the police have began attacking anyone involved in animal rights (particularly anti- vivisection).

I first found myself involved in this persecution due to attending what was always a peaceful SPEAK protest in London on 27th Sept 2006.

It was a dreadful day, with the police behaving more like playground bullies (sexist ones at that!).

What ever we did we were apparently wrong... we were lined up against railings, so we weren't blocking the pavement at all, it made no difference at all. I even tried to leave the 'protest' to find some public loos, but was told I could not leave for any reason and I'd be arrested if I did!!

We were constantly told we would not be allowed to demonstrate as we were 'blocking the highway', we were determined to continue to try!

Here is a statement from a friend of mine, brutally treated by NETCU:

I turned up at the EROS Statue in Piccadilly for the SPEAK demo on Saturday the 27th September 2006. It was around 12.30 pm and already there were more police there than in previous demonstrations and a lot of Policeman were present whom I'd never seen before.

We walked down towards a Vodaphone shop which was nearby to protest about money they had given to Oxford University. Within seconds of us getting our banners out, the mood from the police changed and they became very confrontational.

They asked us to move on even though I felt we were being quite orderly and had carried out similar demonstrations without trouble many times before. The Police then started to shove us about, shouting at us that we had to move on. We were ordered to put away our banners and were pushed into a small circle in front of some shoppers who were staring in disbelief.

They were asking the police why we couldn't protest and why they were being so threatening. However, there was no dialogue between us and the Police, they just seemed intent on stopping us from protesting. We put our banners into a bag and went to our next destination. Throughout this time we were flanked by Police Officers.

We arrived ten minutes later at Park Place, SW1 where we have protested before. We stood singly pushed up against the railings at the edge of the pavement all holding a placard. We started to shout "Stop the Oxford Animal lab" and then without notice the police lined up in front of us.

We were again asked to move on. I asked my fellow protestors what was happening but nobody seemed to know. Then a Policeman number 1332, came charging towards me and told me to move because I was obstructing the pavement. I asked him how I was doing that when I'd made sure that I was completely against the railings, but he didn't answer me. Instead he repeated the same phrase, "move or I'll arrest you for obstructing the pavement".

Once again I asked him how I was doing that when I'd made sure that I was completely against the railings and that there was plenty of room for pedestrians to pass. Then the Police Officer who was obviously in charge shouted, that he'd had enough of this and he wanted us moved on.

With that Officer 1332 physically pulled me away from the pavement and pushed me into the road. I turned around just in time to see the same officer do the same thing to the lady who was next to me. Worried for her safety I grabbed the front of his bullet proof vest and shouted at him to stop. I actually said "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" With that he screamed at me that he was now arresting me.

The PC then took my arm and pulled it back with some kind of twisting motion that was extremely painful and left me screaming out in pain. I was then surrounded by lots of police officers and was pushed to the ground with my face in the tarmac. I was still in a great deal of pain and was still screaming. Ignoring my pain, he proceeded to handcuff me.

I wasn't arrested but my arm was grabbed by both hands of a burly policeman, I actually thought he would break it! I was then thrown into the road & when I got myself up I realised what had happened to my friend (statement above).

I tried to get close to help/comfort her, but a lot of policemen had closed around her. What upset me most of all was the fact that ALL the cops that day were MALE & the majority of us were FEMALE! A very upsetting day for all involved!

On 2nd October 2006 with some free time I had, I decided to help on a stall in Oxford Street, London for SPEAK Campaigns. All seemed to go really well, it was good weather and we had quite a lot of interest in the information we had, some put a few coins on the table too (we didn't have a collection box!)

We had been there a couple of hours when out of nowhere came 3 aggressive policemen, who proceeded to rip all the laminated posters of vivisected animals off the stall. We shouted at them, asking what they were doing, they continued what they were doing and took ALL our leaflets & some coins off the table... they took everything bar the actual pasting table!

Apparently we were blocking the highway, so why did they not take the table or even ask us to pack it away?!

The court case was on 26th April & we were all found guilty, even though the prosecution evidence was ridiculous, as was the prosecutor! You may be surprised to hear... the police LIED & got away with it!!!?

Next court appearance is on 22nd May 2007, me & a friend set up a pasting table with anti-vivisection leaflets & petitions for Day of Action for Primates. This was organised by Animal Aid & was happening nationally.

Out of nearly 40 stalls around the country, our stall in High Barnet was halted by the police, who demanded we pack it away or they would confiscate the lot! Apparently the police had been watching us for 2 hours, I've asked for 'Advance Disclosure' but as yet have received nothing!

I happened to attend the 'Business as Usual' SHAC protest on Friday (18th May). While outside NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), with the usual SHAC placards I was approached by a policeman who asked me to put my placard down as apparently a 'passer-by had complained. I refused, as did 2 other protestors! We were threatened with arrest, this went on for around 15/20 mins, but amazingly that as far as it went... threats! I refuse to be intimidated!

This is the democracy we are now living in... whatever we do, if we want to 'stay out of trouble' with the 'law' it's not a good idea to be an anti-vivisectionist or have anything to do with that way of thinking!!!

Personally, I'll NEVER give up the fight!

May 2007

An animal rights protester today told of the terrifying moment police smashed down her front door and arrested her.

Nicci Tapping was asleep in bed with her two dogs when police officers in riot gear stormed her house.

She said officers ran upstairs and towered over her bed, brandishing truncheons.

The 25-year-old, of Alver Road, Gosport, was arrested on suspicion of blackmail on Tuesday in the largest ever swoop on suspected animal rights extremists.
Miss Tapping is a member of the Southern Animal Rights Coalition and is an outspoken opponent of animal cruelty.

She regularly goes on marches and protests, but doesn't have a criminal record and claims she has never been involved in any criminal activity.

She said police searched in her fish tank and gerbil cage, and confiscated her computer, phone, cash and credit cards.

She added that they also took leaflets promoting a vegan festival in Southampton.

Miss Tapping said: 'They've taken everything.

full story:

Police launch attack on animal rights campaigners

700 police officers were involved in dawn raids on 30 animal rights campaigner's houses across Britain this week.

On Tuesday 1st May police officers from 10 different police forces across the UK and led by Kent and Hampshire police who coordinated the raids arrested 32 people. Using the pretext of investigating criminal activity the police raided homes not just in the UK but liaised with police forces on mainland Europe as homes were raided both in the Netherlands and Belgium. However, no arrests were made in these countries.

According to the police the raids come after a two-year investigation that looked into attacks on scientists, businessmen and firms connected to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Adrian Leppard, the Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Police, who is leading the case said: "Animal rights extremists have conducted sustained campaigns of harassment and intimidation against the animal research industry, seeking to achieve their objectives by creating a climate of fear". Mr Leppard said that the arrests took place in Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Greater London, Merseyside, Worcestershire, Lancashire, Northumbria and Yorkshire.

Of the 32 people arrested at the time of writing this news story nine people have been charged with conspiracy to blackmail or blackmail, whilst two, Greg Avery, a founder member of the campaign group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), and his wife, Natasha are still being questioned, the police having been granted a further 36 hours to question the two. Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Merseyside was among the places raided. The centre, which has been established for more than 25 years and takes in unwanted animals from across the region - saw approx 50-60 police arrived at 5.30am smashing their way through the front doors of the centre and in the process releasing 4 dogs. Staff at the centre desperately tried to retrieve the dogs but two of the dogs are still missing. Later on another dog was able to escape due to the behaviour of the police, but has subsequently been found by staff. The raid lasted 13 hours and no animals were allowed to be cleaned, medicated or fed until after 7pm that night as they wouldn't let staff onto the site. Reports from staff at the centre accuse the police of being "aggressive" and "thuggish" even to the extent that they broke a member of staff's collar bone as he was trying to get to the farm animals.

Other reports coming into Arkangel are of a similar nature. In one raid police smashed down front doors and as people emerged from their bedrooms threw them face down onto the beds handcuffing them and leaving them lying on the bed naked whilst officers ransacked the house, these tactics were used despite the fact that the occupants of the house were not even arrested. Those arrested ranged in age from late teens to late sixties.

HLS came into the media spotlight in 1989 when undercover video footage shot by Sarah Kite of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) over a six month period exposed the animal abuse inside HLS for the first time.

In 1997, Zoë Broughton worked undercover inside HLS in the UK for 9 weeks. She filmed, with a hidden camera, workers punching, shaking and terrifying 4 month old beagle pups. The resulting footage screened on national TV saw the suspension temporarily of Huntingdon's licence to vivisect. However when the media spotlight was no longer on HLS they were given back their licence. HLS have a long track record of abusing animals and breaking the already weak welfare laws protecting laboratory animals and this abuse isn't just confined to their UK research laboratory; in 1997 Michelle Rokke worked inside Huntingdon's US lab in New Jersey. She filmed monkeys being cut open whilst they were still conscious, something exposed again recently in a 2006 report released by SHAC.

According to the SHAC report, nothing has changed and the exact same abuse that made HLS a major target of animal rights campaigns all over the world continues to take place daily today, despite the assurances and formal statements made by HLS executives, including HLS's MD Brian Cass, and business partners that conditions have improved at the testing facility and the animals are well-treated.

In the report, one ex-worker, who worked in the dog units, states, "Some dogs were not happy to be bled and they would struggle and not sit still. The licence holder would pull them around by the scruff, shout at them, and sometimes even used to pick the dog up off the chair by its scruff and have it dangling whilst they shouted at it. It could be a very disturbing time."

"I saw co-workers grab them by the scruff, shout and swear at them, swing them by the scruff and slap them. I was told I was "too close" to my dogs because when I carried them to and from procedures I would hold them tight to me and cuddle and kiss them."

Workers also reported abuse of employees that included favouritism, overly long work days, denial of breaks and lunches, and being made to falsify information regarding documentation of work times.

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