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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Pro-hunting protests block roads
Countryside Action Network members prepare to protest
Pro-hunting activists brought rush hour disruption to motorways in England and Wales with a series of "go-slow" protests.

Convoys of slow moving vehicles were sent along sections of the M11 in Cambridgeshire, the M4 in South Wales and the A1M in South Yorkshire.

A group called Countryside Action Network (CAN) confirmed it was behind the protests, and promised there were more to come.

South Wales traffic control said "a small group of protesters" blocked the M4 both ways between junctions 24 and 29.


Our plan is to drive slowly in convoy at various sections of motorway and hold up the traffic

John Baddeley

And South Yorkshire Police confirmed a group of tractors caused "considerable" tailbacks on A1M and the northbound M18 south-west of Doncaster.

There were also protests on the M11 in Cambridgeshire and the M5 in Somerset.

John Baddeley, 51, organiser of the Cambridge protest, said the aim was to tell the government to "get off our backs".

"Our plan is to drive slowly in convoy at various sections of motorway and hold up the traffic," said Mr Baddeley, a farmer from Diss, Norfolk.

"We're trying to send a message to the government to say get off our backs and let hunting continue."


These protests will continue to grow as Parliament moves ever closer to implementing the clear wish of the public

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Douglas Batchelor

The action was criticised by pro-hunting pressure group the Countryside Alliance.

Chief Executive Richard Burge said: "We are critical of these actions which appear to be designed to inconvenience the general public rather than gain support for a cause."

The League Against Cruel Sports said the protest showed a "contempt for ordinary people and the democratic process".

Chief executive Douglas Batchelor added: "The hunters are again showing a complete lack of respect for the public.

"It is typical of the attitude they show when hunting across other people's land.

"Britain is a democratic country and it should be possible for hunt campaigners to lobby decision-makers and make clear their views without causing inconvenience to the rest of the country.

"We fear these protests will continue to grow as Parliament moves ever closer to implementing the clear wish of the public - to bring an end to the cruelty of hunting with dogs."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's John Sudworth
"They're determined to take more direct action of this kind"
Janet George, Countryside Action Network
"We're not going to roll over quietly while they [the government] destroy a way of life"
Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

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