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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Huntsmen blow 'wake-up' call
Pro-hutning protestors
Protestors say there is public support for fox hunting
Riders from six different hunts assembled in central London on Wednesday to protest at government plans to outlaw hunting.

The huntsmen congregated on Horseguards Parade and sounded horns so the prime mininster could hear from 10 Downing Street.

Protestors said the demonstration was to express concern at the lack of consultation over the ban on hunting.

Horses and hounds stayed for an hour early on Wednesday morning.

The feeling within the countryside is growing

Patrick Martin

Patrick Martin, a huntsman from the Bicester hunt in Oxfordshire said the morning's demonstration would be one of many.

"Tony Blair's bedroom backs on to here and we wanted to let him know we were still around."

Mr Martin said protestors did not want the government to use the consultation period as a 'breathing space'.

"We're seven weeks into the consultation period and we're very, very frustrated.

"The feeling within the countryside is growing."

Summer protests

The government said there would be a consultation period of six months over the proposed ban on hunting with dogs.

Plans to introduce a bill to outlaw the practice follows a vote in the House of Commons in which MPs overwhelmingly backed a ban.

The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance is planning a summer-long series of protests against any potential ban.

Protests will culminate in a march on 22 September which organisers hope will attract up to 500,000 demonstrators.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Hunters converge on London
18 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Blair hunts a way out
31 Oct 01 | UK Politics
MPs urge action on hunting ban
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