British police have announced the arrest of 19 people after an animal rights group claimed to want to disrupt the Epsom Derby (Surrey), one of the most famous horse races across the Channel, which takes place this Saturday.
Last week, the British court had granted an injunction to the British Jockey Club – owner of several racecourses including that of Epsom – to thwart the desires of activists of the group Animal Rising, which had called to delay and disrupt the race. This injunction prohibits entering the track and disrupting the races, under penalty of fine and prison.
Early this Saturday, eleven people were arrested in Mitcham and Byfleet, the other eight later in the morning after a car stopped near the racecourse, around 10:20, where the race was to start at 13:30 (14:30, French time). "All have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance and remain in custody," police said.
For its part, Animal Rising confirmed to AFP that the 19 people arrested were indeed activists of the movement. The group deplored in a statement "the intimidation tactics" of the police and "reiterated its commitment to protect the horses and disrupt the Derby" during the day. He then published photos of people holding placards and slogans against the exploitation of horses. And, emerging from the crowd that gathered at the racecourse, two men reached the grass track at the very beginning of the animations.
🏁Epsom For All has begun! 🥳️
People have started to gather outside the entrance of the #EpsomDerby to show their care and love for all life.
We know another world is possible, where all beings are treated with respect and kindness. #AnimalRising pic.twitter.com/zAApfl35fk
— Animal Rising (@AnimalRising) June 3, 2023
Last April, Animal Rising had already disrupted the Grand National, another famous race. The departure was delayed and 118 people arrested.
Jockey Club officials say they offered the defense group, before the injunction, an area near the entrance to the racecourse to protest peacefully.