Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

Merseyside Police has underlined its “robust policing plans” after climate activists were reportedly plotting to “ruin” the Grand National by staging a protest on raceday.

Members of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, plan to form a human barricade across the course at Aintree after sneaking into the event with ladders and bolt cutters, according to reports.

The Mail on Sunday reports more than 100 activists have signed up to take part in a protest on April 15 which would see them bussed to Aintree and glued to parts of the National course.

Sam Waley-Cohen celebrates victory on Noble Yeats in the Grand National
Sam Waley-Cohen celebrates victory on Noble Yeats in the 2022 Grand National

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “Merseyside Police has a robust policing plan in place for Aintree, as it does for any major public event, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.

“We have been working with our partners, including the Jockey Club, for a number of months in the build-up to this year’s festival to ensure that any necessary plans and processes are in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any significant or ongoing disruption to racegoers and local residents and businesses.

“We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of views, but public order or criminal offenses will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.”

Six activists ran on to the track before the Derby at Epsom last year, while four climate-change protesters chained themselves to the rail by the winning post on the final day of Royal Ascot in 2021.

By cb2gp