Woman, 33, arrested over animal activists vowing to disrupt Grand National | UK News
A woman has been arrested outside the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool.
Activists have vowed to scale fences and enter the track to disrupt the event.
Merseyside Police say a 33-year-old woman has now been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance “in connection with possible coordinated disruption activity in Aintree”.
The London-area woman was arrested in Greater Manchester this morning.
A spokeswoman for the force said: “Merseyside Police have been working with the Jockey Club and other partners to keep people safe during the Grand National Festival.
“We are aware that some people are planning to protest at the event. This is taken into account in our planning.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression, but criminal behavior and misdemeanors will not be tolerated and will be strictly opposed.”
The Animal Rising group said up to 300 activists were present as of 9.30am in Aintree, where they intend to prevent the race from starting.
They will also block traffic by performing a slow march along Ormskirk Road, the main access road.
Nathan McGovern, a spokesman, said: “We plan to block Ormskirk Road, the access road to the front of the racecourse, on a regular basis to disrupt access to the venue throughout the day.
“The group of people at the front will peacefully attempt to move over the perimeter fences/walls at the front of Aintree before the Grand National race begins with the intention of getting onto the track.
“And all before the race even starts. We will not enter the track when horses and jockeys are riding.’
Merseyside Police said they have a “robust policing plan” and are working with Aintree’s owners The Jockey Club to prepare for any incidents.
A horse has already died at the Grand National Festival – Envoye Special ridden by James King – after falling at the Foxhunters’ Chase just after 4pm on Thursday.
It is the 60th horse to have died at Aintree in the past 23 years.
Animal Rising, which changed its name from Animal Rebellion on Monday to move away from the Extinction Rebellion umbrella, aims to use Britain’s horseracing biggest calendar event to highlight the “broken relationship” between humans and animals.
Mr McGovern continued: “It’s a spotlight we really need to use to drive a national conversation about our broken relationship, not just with horses but with all the animals we use, be it for food, fun, entertainment and Dog and Horse Races.
“The main thing here is to recognize that in a nation of animal lovers, we don’t really live up to those values with our actions.”
Animal Rising’s plans for the Grand National first became public when an undercover reporter from the Mail on Sunday attended a meeting earlier this month.
They said the activists planned to use ladders and bolt cutters to get through the Aintree fence.
A spokesman for Aintree Racecourse said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest but sincerely hope that Animal Rising will consider whether their proposed actions are legitimate and responsible.
“Their actions could endanger the horses they claim to be protecting, as well as jockeys, officials and themselves.
“As you would expect, we are working closely with Merseyside Police to ensure we protect the safety and enjoyment of everyone, including any competitor, human or horse, at the Grand National.”
A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority said: “While we respect everyone’s right to protest safely and legally, we condemn any illegal action, particularly where it endangers the safety of horses, jockeys, officials or fans.”
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