Anti-animal testing protest march in Huntingdon planned

POLICE say they are not expecting disorder from an upcoming protest march against Huntingdon Life Science.

Details of the march, organised by the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty group, on Saturday, November 5 show protesters plan to make their way from Riverside Park down the ring road and along the High Street, before meeting at Huntingdon Town Park where they will then be taken by bus to the Huntingdon Life Science offices in Woolley.

Letters have been distributed to businesses along the route, and residents are being warned to expect some disruption. Marchers will gather from 11.30am at the Riverside Park and will take an hour to reach the town park.

Traffic along the ring road will be temporarily stopped to allow protesters, expected to number up to 300, to make their way down.

The last protest march in 2007 saw protesters complete a full circle along the ring road to join buses at Riverside Park.

Chief Inspector Mike Winters of Cambridgeshire Police said he had negotiated with organisers to shorten the route.

“They wanted to do a protest as they did in 2007 - going out of the High Street back on to the ring road, but that would have been very disruptive to the public, so we negotiated on the route. Instead they will turn off the High Street and follow a footpath to the park.

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“I am very conscious that people will be thinking back to 2007 and previous demonstrations. The policing process has moved on. We have better relations with the organisers and the group themselves.

“I am not expecting the same level of tension as in 2007. The protesters have shown good will in agreeing to the shorter route.”

He added police were also using intelligence to ensure other activists did not gatecrash the protest as has happened during anti-cuts marches in London.

Insp Winters said: “I am using officers that are skilled in dealing with football crowds. There will also be officers visible along the High Street but also to reassure the public and business community, and other officers that are skilled in public disorder.

“We anticipate a peaceful procession that will spend a short part of the time on the march through the town. I do not see it will affect businesses detrimentally and the public will be able to carry on as normal.”