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Sunday, October 24, 1999 Published at 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK


Hunt supporters march east

No Bill to ban hunting in Queen's Speech

Thousands of pro-hunting campaigners have rallied in East Anglia in protest against the Government's threatened ban on hunting.

Fox hunting
The protest, organised by the Countryside Alliance, drew more than 10,000 people to the streets of Norwich, Norfolk, police estimated.

A small group of 50 anti-hunt demonstrators also converged in the city centre and two people were arrested for breaching the peace, but were later released without charge.

The demonstration was the third in a series of six arranged by the pressure group to be held in provincial cities across England and Wales.

Previous demonstrations held over the past weeks have attracted around 10,000 supporters to Birmingham and 19,000 to Newcastle upon Tyne.

'Dreadful conditions'

Chief Superintendent Roger Sandall, the operational commander for the march, said: "Disruption to city life was kept to a minimum and the police would like to thank both sets of demonstrators for their good behaviour and also the local community for their tolerance."

The Countryside Alliance, which last year attracted 280,000 supporters to a London rally, says 16,000 jobs will be lost if the government bans hunting.

Liz Mort, Countryside Alliance spokeswoman, said: "Clearly this amount of support in such dreadful conditions shows the depth of feeling felt by so many.

"We are quite literally standing up and being counted."

Further demonstrations are already planned for Exeter and Cardiff with another venue yet to be decided.

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