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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Protest over post office closures
Protesters outside the post office
Five post offices in Exeter are facing the axe
Dozens of residents have held a demonstration in Exeter to protest about the proposed closure of their local post office.

The action follows the latest round of proposed closures by the Royal Mail as part of economic cutbacks.

St Leonard's and Newtown residents staged the rally outside the Magdalen Road branch, which is under threat.

A dozen branches have already been axed in the city and five more are facing the chop.

Show support

The branch in Magdalen Road is joined on the list by post offices at Rivermead Road, Sunningdale; Chard Road, Heavitree; Topsham Road, Countess Wear; and Beacon Lane.

Exeter city councillor Norman Shiel, who helped organise the protest, said the idea for the rally to show support for the branches under threat came at a public meeting on the issue.

He said: "The suggestion was made that we should make the Post Office realise what they have done and shame them with a public show of solidarity."

He also advised protesters not just to sign petitions, but to write to the Post Office individually to show their anger at the decisions.

"Petitions are all very well, and are an admirable and traditional British method of protest, but the Post Office has made it very clear that a petition, no matter how many signatures on it, is counted as only one objection.

"Protesters must write individual letters."

Postal chiefs said the decision to shut certain offices was only taken after in-depth investigations into the effects of a closure.

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