… Since last autumn, Norfolk police officers have permitted placard-waving protesters to stop livestock trucks on the access road for 30 seconds, to film and photograph their animals… "It wasn't too bad in the early stages. But within the last eight months, the police have allowed the protesters to stop everyone for 30 seconds so they can film the livestock in the back of the trailers. It is getting more aggressive and there has been issues with them filming people in the cab as well, and a lot of farmers have complained because they feel intimidated… The Supreme Court ruled that ECHR protections could extend to protests which involve "intentional disruption obstructing others"…

 

 

Vegan protests: A lawful right or 'intimidation' of cattle farmers? [UK]

 

Chris Hill, Eastern Daily Press (UK)

May 6, 2022

 

Escalating tensions between livestock farmers and vegan activists have sparked accusations of “intimidation” on both sides, following a change in the way roadside protests are policed.

 

The fine line between the lawful right to protest and the right for traders to go about their business has come into sharp focus at Norwich Livestock Market on Hall Road.

 

Animal rights activists have been holding regular “vigils” at the fortnightly sale for the last five years – but tensions have been rising in recent months.

 

Since last autumn, Norfolk police officers have permitted placard-waving protesters to stop livestock trucks on the access road for 30 seconds, to film and photograph their animals.

 

It often provokes angry confrontations, and the latest flashpoint on Saturday resulted in two arrests, one farmer and one protester, which police are still investigating.

 

Market chairman Stephen Lutkin claimed the protests had crossed a line into “intimidation”, and criticised “inconsistent” policing, with the time limit often broken and vehicle drivers also being directly filmed and harassed.

 

But Norfolk police said all protests were handled “fairly and proportionately” – with officers applying their judgement within a “subjective” new legal precedent which means protesting in a way that obstructs road users is not automatically a criminal offence.

 

And the protesters responded by saying that they were the ones being intimidated by farm vehicle drivers while carrying out their “peaceful protests”.

 

Mr Lutkin said: "Everyone has their right to protest, and I don't have a problem with that, but this is harassment and intimidation.

 

"It wasn't too bad in the early stages. But within the last eight months, the police have allowed the protesters to stop everyone for 30 seconds so they can film the livestock in the back of the trailers. It is getting more aggressive and there has been issues with them filming people in the cab as well, and a lot of farmers have complained because they feel intimidated.

 

"It is a difficult one for the police, but we do have an issue with inconsistency as to how it is policed because we don't get the same sergeant in charge each time. One might be a stickler for the rules, and then you get another one with a completely different attitude and they [the protesters] are allowed to get away with more.

 

"That is what antagonises the farmers. Sometimes they will be stopped there for two minutes.

 

"I never agreed to the 30 seconds, I don't want the animals to get upset on the trailer. But if that's the way the police want to go, then I can tolerate 30 seconds. But it must be no more than 30 seconds, and we don't want them filming drivers."

 

Mr Lutkin also questioned what laws had changed to spark a change in policing...

 

... The Supreme Court ruled that ECHR protections could extend to protests which involve "intentional disruption obstructing others" - but the extent of that disruption was an important factor in determining a "proportionate" police response...

 

more, including photos

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/tensions-rise-at-norwich-livestock-market-vegan-protests-8941646