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Protesters hit with court injunction ahead of Epsom Derby
The High Court has provided the Jockey Club with an injunction against Animal Rising protesters who bare planning to cause chaos and disruption at the 2023 Epsom Derby on Saturday, 3rd June.
Owner of Epsom Downs Racecourse, The Jockey Club, lodged an application for an injunction against Animal Rising who had made it clear that their intention was to breach the security at the venue and disrupt the race with protests. Their plans came to light after they managed to delay the Aintree Grand national for around 15 minutes with protesters making their way onto the course before being removed by police. Jockey Club officials feared that the planned protests could put the lives of racegoers, jockeys and horses at risk.
The Jockey Club have made it clear that they don’t dismiss anyone’s right to hold a peaceful protest and to that end, they have offered Animal Rights a part of the venue for this specific purpose. The injunction prohibits anyone from going onto the Epsom track and carrying out any activity which could potentially disrupt any race at the meeting. These activities may involve entering the parade ring without permission, obstructing the movement of horses in the parade ring, entering onto the racetrack without permission, placing or throwing objects onto the track and intentionally putting anyone in danger at the venue during the course of the two-day meeting.
Chief executive at the Jockey Club, Nevin Truesdale, said: “Our number one priority will always be to ensure that the safety of all our equine and human participants and racegoers, officials and our own employees is not compromised.
“Animal Rising have repeatedly made it explicitly clear that they intend to break the law and disrupt The Derby Festival and that left us with no choice but to seek this injunction, having consulted with a number of stakeholders including Surrey Police.
“We will never tolerate a repeat of the illegal disruption we saw at Aintree on Grand National day and we welcome today’s High Court ruling, which provides us with an additional layer of security to combat the threat of such dangerous and reckless behaviour.
“We believe everyone should have the right to peaceful protest and have offered Animal Rising an area near the entrance of Epsom Downs racecourse to express their views in a law-abiding way.
“However, anyone who attempts to disrupt the race or compromise the safety of horses or humans will be dealt with robustly by our security teams and the police.
“As such I now urge Animal Rising to abandon any plans to breach security at The Derby Festival and respect the legitimate right of the thousands of people who will join us at Epsom Downs and the millions of people watching at home and around the world to enjoy the sport they love uninterrupted.”