BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 12 July, 2002, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Pro-hunting lobby split over direct action
M11 in Cambridgeshire
The Countryside Action Network blocks the M11
A split is emerging in the pro-hunting lobby as campaigners disagree about employing direct action.

The Countryside Action Network (CAN) is threatening further action after blocking roads around the UK on Friday.

The Countryside Alliance dismisses CAN as "about half a dozen people who get together on occasions and threaten to do this kind of thing".

The CAN protesters remain members of the Alliance - but describe it as inefficient and ineffective.


The government has to have some sort of threat of serious trouble coming down on them

CAN

Three Alliance members frustrated by its "softly, softly, Labour-friendly approach" formed the CAN in October.

And the Network now claims allegiance from 4,000 activists among the Alliance's 80,000 members.

"We do not limit ourselves to Alliance strategy," said spokeswoman Janet George.

"They are political lobby group - we are an action group."

CAN is determined to re-claim direct action as a tactic from the anti-hunting lobby.

'Sleeping giant'

"We will not be armed with baseball bats and wear masks - but we can cause far more chaos than them because we can do it more intelligently," Ms George warned.

"The government has to have some sort of threat of serious trouble coming down on them.

"We apologise sincerely to anyone who was held up for a short time this morning.

"But we must use every possible tactic to show this government that being in government does not mean having unfettered power to bully and discriminate against minority groups it disagrees with."


There are plenty of ways of making our point without causing major inconvenience to the public

Countryside Alliance

Ms George warned that Friday's action - during which slow moving vehicles were sent along sections of the M11 in Cambridgeshire, the M4 in South Wales and the A1M in South Yorkshire - was "just a taste" of things to come.

CAN believes the Alliance is "incredibly law-abiding" and "too polite".

And Ms George told BBC News Online: "Politeness does not work with Labour.

"Labour only listens to the people who can cause it most grief and at the moment on this issue that is their backbenchers.

"So we have to send a message to them that we can cause at least as much trouble for them as their backbenchers - if not more."

"We are not going to roll over quietly while they destroy a way of life," Ms George warned.

'Counter productive'

"Hunting people are not natural protesters - but we are getting a taste for it.

"The countryside lobby has always been a sleeping giant.

"It is time for that giant to wake up and smell the coffee!"

A spokesman for the Alliance said: "There are plenty of ways of making our point without causing major inconvenience to the public."

Chief executive Richard Burge added: "Public support and the weight of public opinion is the greatest ally of rural Britain.

"Actions that undermine it are counter productive."

Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

Latest stories

The Scottish ban

Analysis

Background

TALKING POINT
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes