A demonstrator was apprehended by authorities after entering the racecourse at the Epsom Derby. This follows the arrest of 19 individuals over plans to interfere with the event. Animal Rising, an animal rights group, had announced its intention to sabotage the event despite a High Court injunction. Surrey Police stated that 11 individuals were detained at Mitcham and Byfleet addresses early in the day, while eight more were arrested around 10:20am after a vehicle was halted in Burgh Heath, just south of Epsom. All were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance and remain in police custody.
Dan Kidby, co-founder of Animal Rising, argued that the police operation was designed “to protect the interests of a multi-billion pound industry” and highlighted that “a horse dies every other day in racing”. The group also criticised the police for their “heavy-handedness” and “overreach”, pointing to updates to the Public Order Act, which grant officers new powers to suppress certain protests.
Surrey Police Superintendent Michael Hodder stated: “We have been clear in our approach that criminal activity will not be tolerated at the Epsom Derby Festival. As a result of intelligence, we have arrested 19 people who we believe were intent on illegally disrupting today’s events. Our officers will be at the event throughout the day to continue in keeping the public safe and preventing criminality.”
Surrey Police had previously announced that any risk to public safety would not be tolerated and that those participating could face contempt of court proceedings, fines, or imprisonment. During the week, the Jockey Club sought an injunction that prohibited individuals from entering the racecourse and engaging in actions intended to disrupt the races. In April, protesters succeeded in delaying the start of the Grand National by approximately 10 minutes after gaining access to the track.
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