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19 animal rights activists arrested over alleged plans to disrupt the Epsom Derby

It comes after activist group vowed to “cancel or severely delay” the race.

LAST UPDATE | 3 Jun 2023

PLANS TO DISRUPT the Epsom Derby have been foiled as Animal Rising activists were arrested attempting to run on to the racecourse.

As audiences waited for the Betfred Derby, the first major race of the day, a man jumped the fence and rushed on to the course.

He was pursued by police as the crowd jeered, with some shouting “get him”, before being pulled away and tackled to the ground where he was handcuffed.

Minutes later, a woman tried to jump the fence in front of the Grandstand as police officers rushed to stop her.

Angry onlookers could be heard screaming, with one man shouting, “kick her head in”, while police threw her to the floor and handcuffed her just as the horses thundered past the finish line.

It came after Surrey Police arrested 19 people earlier today based on intelligence suggesting they were “intent on illegally disrupting” the Derby.

Last week, the Jockey Club, which owns Epsom Downs, was granted the injunction against Animal Rising, claiming it had made “explicitly clear” it intended to breach security at the racecourse.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the group pledged to “cancel or severely postpone” the event.

There was disruption at the Grand National at Aintree in April when the race was delayed by just over 10 minutes after demonstrators made their way on to the track and had to be removed by police.

In a statement on their website after the race, Animal Rising said: “After weeks of speculation and discussion, Animal Rising has disrupted the Epsom Derby.

“After the group hit headlines when it disrupted the Grand National at Aintree, once more it is putting the spotlight on our broken relationship with other animals and nature.”

They quoted Kerri Waters, who they claimed was one of the disrupters, as saying they chose to intervene against horses being used as “objects and property”.

Speaking before the race, Superintendent Michael Hodder of Surrey Police said: “We have been clear in our approach that criminal activity will not be tolerated at the Epsom Derby Festival.”

Press Association