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Anti-fox hunting campaigners protest at annual Boxing Day hunt meet in Elham

By Gerry Warren

Protesters against fox hunting are again planning to descend on the traditional Boxing Day meet in Elham today.

The demonstration is being backed by the East Kent Sabs – a group of hunt saboteurs who monitor hunting activities in the countryside.

Up to 100 protesters are expected to gather in the village to make a noisy, placard-waving protest as the riders and hounds arrive in the Square at around 10.30am.

The annual Boxing Day Hunt meet in Elham village
The annual Boxing Day Hunt meet in Elham village

But cheering the riders on will be supporters, including members of the Countryside Alliance.

Tempers have previously flared between the groups and did again earlier this month when saboteurs clashed with members of the East Kent with West Street Hunt in the countryside near Folkestone.

It resulted in anti-hunt campaigners claiming one of their members – a woman in her 50s – had been assaulted and the police were called.

Demonstrators at a previous hunt
Demonstrators at a previous hunt

A spokesman for police said: “We were was called at 2.02pm on Saturday, December 16, to a report of a disturbance on land off Alkham Valley Road.

“Officers attended and spoke to members of a group who reported that assaults had been committed against them by others who had since left the location. Inquiries into the allegations are ongoing.”

Hunt saboteurs have also claimed that police do not enforce the hunting law.

Protesters at the Boxing Day Elham Valley Hunt in 2014
Protesters at the Boxing Day Elham Valley Hunt in 2014

But a police spokesman said: “We are aware of our responsibilities under the Hunting Act and all reported breaches of the law are investigated thoroughly based on the evidence available.”

He also said officers would be at the at the Boxing Day hunt “in order to facilitate a peaceful protest”.

Grant Tilman of the East Kent Subs said today's protest would be peaceful.

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