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Scottish Grand National invasion sees 24 charged

2023-06-04 02:57:17 source:The Washington Post author:Press center2 click:411order

Police have charged 24 people after animal rights protesters tried to disrupt the Scottish Grand National.

A large group breached fences at Ayr racecourse and made towards the track at about 15:20 before a further smaller group tried to disrupt a later race.

Police Scotland said officers "safely removed" people on both occasions and no injuries were reported.

The force confirmed all 24 charges were over breach of the peace.

All were released and are due to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court on Monday.

Security was ramped up at the racecourse after protests delayed the start of the Grand National last week.

The Ayr protest followed the death of horse Oscar Elite in the 13:50 race on Saturday. Activists said they wanted to stop other horses from dying or coming to harm.

Although the activist group Animal Rising claimed to have delayed the 18-horse event, won by Kitty's Light, it started only three minutes late.

The group said it wanted to highlight the exploitation of animals for sport and food.

It said it will continue with more race disruptions as well as a series of farm occupations and animal "rescues".

Protester Sarah McCaffrey from the group said last week's protest at the Grand National started a "crucial conversation about our relationship with animals and nature".

On Saturday, she said: "Today we continue that conversation. As a society, we love animals, but we have to find a way to care for them without harming them."

Ms McCaffrey called for an end to horse racing and a transition to a plant-based food system.

Police Scotland Assistant Ch Con Tim Mairs said police officers and stewards had responded swiftly to intervene and "prevent further escalation".

He said: "We worked closely with the event organisers and other partners ahead of the Scottish Grand National to ensure a proportionate plan was in place to keep people safe and facilitate peaceful protest."

Ayr's managing director David Brown also praised the swift action of the police and security teams on course.

He said: "The race went off to time, there was no notable delay and the professionalism of the team up here in Scotland was a credit to them, they dealt with it in a very efficient manner."

pursueing the Grand National at Aintree last week, Merseyside Police said they arrested 118 people over disruption which saw nine people enter the course.

Up to 17,000 people were expected at Ayr racecourse for the Scottish version of the race.

The Scottish Grand National was inaugurated in Ayrshire in 1867 and has taken place at Ayr since 1966.

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