Royal Ascot security revisited after Epsom Derby activist disruption

Royal Ascot’s security plans are being re-evaluated following the disruption caused by activists at the Epsom Derby. Ascot officials are said to be “observing and learning” from the incident on June 4, when animal rights protesters invaded the track. The five-day horse racing festival, which begins on June 20, features the Royal Procession with horse-drawn landaus, an event that was a favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Court injunctions have not deterred activists from attempting to sabotage events like the Derby. Moreover, it is not only animal welfare groups causing disruptions to ensure their demands are heard. Just Stop Oil, an environmental activist group, has pledged to continue direct action at sporting events throughout the summer, including the Ashes cricket series, Wimbledon tennis championships, and the Formula One British Grand Prix.

Chloe Naldrett, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, told Sky News: “Under any normal circumstances, this kind of disruption wouldn’t be acceptable. But we’re not in normal circumstances. We’ve really got to decide how much worse we’re going to let this [environmental] problem get before we start taking the right action.” The group is demanding that the government blocks new oil and gas developments, a pledge reportedly made by the Labour party if they are elected to power.

“We are looking at everything non-violently reasonable – and looking at all kinds of civil resistance – in order to achieve that aim, which is absolutely fundamental to our survival,” Ms Naldrett said. “We know that these actions are controversial, and that not everybody will agree with us. But we’re not trying to get elected.”

However, David McAtamney, owner of Stadium Group and an events logistics expert with 40 years of experience, warned of potential public backlash. He told Sky News: “My concern is the protection of the people that are protesting. If they are very close to large numbers of people who become very angry at their actions, then of course we have to protect them as well.”

Just Stop Oil demonstrators previously caused a stoppage at the World Snooker Championships in April by throwing orange powder on the green baize tables. McAtamney emphasised the need for increased vigilance, saying: “Search lanes have to be more vigilant, to make sure that powder and paint and whatever may be is not coming into these events. So that’s the first point of contact and then hopefully we can stop some of this going on.”

World News

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.