'Carry on as normal' plea from police
SHOPPERS are being urged to carry on as normal this Saturday (November 10) when hundreds of animal rights protesters are expected to march through Huntingdon. Cambridgeshire police has warned people to expect disruption when representatives from SHAC (Sto
SHOPPERS are being urged to carry on as normal this Saturday (November 10) when hundreds of animal rights protesters are expected to march through Huntingdon.
Cambridgeshire police has warned people to expect disruption when representatives from SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) and other animal rights activists conduct a protest against HLS (Huntingdon Life Science).
It is the first time in four years that the county has seen such a protest and several hundred people are expected to take part.
Police have been working with representatives from SHAC, the town centre business community and HLS to ensure plans are in place to minimise the impact of the protest on the public and protect the safety of those involved.
Katy Sismore, town centre manager for Huntingdon, told The Hunts Post: "We hope the impact on the town will be minimal.
"Police believe the march will not leave Riverside Park until about 12.30pm and they have to keep moving so they should all be through the town within around an hour.
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"I have worked closely with the police to make sure that businesses are aware of the march and what time people will be coming through.
"People have their right to protest and we respect that, but it has been a difficult year for traders because of the construction of the bus lane on the ring road and the building in the middle of town.
"We would be apprehensive about anyone marching in the town now that Christmas shopping has started. We don't want customers to be put off coming here. It will be business as usual."
The protest will begin at 11am at the Riverside Park, followed by a march around the ring road, via the town centre.
Protesters will then return to Riverside Park before travelling in convoy to the HLS site in Woolley, with the rally finishing at 5pm.
Cambridgeshire police has said it will maintain a visible presence throughout both stages of the event to ensure minimal disruption to traffic and to protect the safety of those involved in the protest.
Chief Inspector Darren Alderson, who is organising the police operation, said: "Cambridgeshire Constabulary fully supports people's right to protest, however, we will have a visible presence during the protest as a safety precaution and to ensure we minimise disruption for the public.
"As with supporting the right to protest we also fully support the right for lawful employment and will ensure that employees of HLS and any other associated elements can continue to exercise this right without any unlawful impediment.
"We have also ensured we consider the impact of this demonstration on the wider community and have taken action to minimise disruption."
He added: "Those planning on visiting Huntingdon should expect some disruption during the morning as protesters march through the town centre and around the ring road.
"Residents in Great Stukeley and Alconbury will also notice an increase in traffic as protesters travel to the HLS site and plans are in place to minimise the affect of this."
Sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 have been placed on the event to ensure protesters stick to the specified route and timescales of the protest.
INFORMATION: The protest begins at Riverside Park in Huntingdon at 11am. From about 12.30pm, the protesters will walk along the ring road, up the High Street and rejoin the ring road and return to Riverside Park via Hartford Road.