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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Animal activists arrested in Shell protest
Shell oil refinery in Stanlow, Cheshire
Stanlow refinery was blockaded by the protestors
Police have arrested 27 animal rights activists who blockaded a Shell oil refinery in protest at the firm's involvement with the Huntingdon Life Sciences Laboratory.

Officials said campaigners from action group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty(Shac) arrived at the site at Stanlow, near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, shortly after 0600 BST on Thursday.

Demonstrators chained themselves to concrete-filled oil drums outside the plant, forcing police to close the road to the refinery and causing disruption to rush-hour traffic.

A Cheshire Constabulary spokeswoman said the road was fully re-opened by 1600 BST and all 27 protesters had been detained under Section 241 of the Trade Unions Act.

We are confident that there will be a lot more protests of this kind until the company severs its links with Huntingdon

Natasha Taylor, Shac

They were in police cells in stations across Cheshire awaiting questioning, the spokeswoman added.

The activists claimed the direct action was aimed at forcing Shell to stop using the Cambridgeshire Laboratory which is involved in animal testing.

Shac press spokesperson Natasha Taylor said the day was a success, claiming the demonstration had inspired activists across the country to take action against Shell.

She said: "We are confident that there will be a lot more protests of this kind until the company severs its links with Huntingdon."

'Moving smoothly'

A Shell spokesman declined to comment on the protesters' demands but confirmed the company used the Huntingdon Life Sciences Laboratory to research its products.

At the end of the demonstration he said: "Production went on as normal throughout.

"They held up movements for about eight hours and the road was effectively closed. But everything is moving smoothly again now."

Workers from other companies on the Stanlow complex, including Associated Octel and BASF, were also affected by the protest.

The Shell oil refinery at Stanlow was targeted by farmers and lorry drivers during the national fuel crisis last year.

Huntingdon is one of Britain's largest contract research organisations.

See also:

01 Jun 01 | Features
Protests in a quiet corner
28 Mar 01 | Business
Lab firm ditched by share brokers
29 Jan 01 | Business
US group bails out Huntingdon
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