Epsom Derby: Protester arrested after running onto race track

    A protester has been arrested by police at the Epsom Derby after running onto the race track.

    Video taken at the race course shows the protester being tackled to the ground after jumping the fence when the starting gun went off.

    He was quickly tackled to the ground and handcuffed by police on the racecourse while the crowd jeered and booed.

    Minutes later, a woman tried to climb the fence but was pulled to the floor by police.

    A protestor is escorted off the track by police and stewards during the Betfred Derby.


    Despite pledges by activist group Animal Rising to “cancel or severely delay” the Derby, the race continued as planned shortly afterwards.

    Observers described the situation as “ludicrous” and “absolute insanity” while others thanked police for putting a stop to the protests.

    It comes after 19 animal rights protesters were arrested in connection with plans to disrupt the Epsom Derby Festival.

    Officers said 11 people were arrested at addresses in Mitcham and Byfleet in the early hours of the morning following warrants based on intelligence received ahead of the festival.

    Eight people were also arrested after a vehicle stopped in Burgh Heath at about 10.20am.

    Epsom Derby Festival

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    Nineteen people have been arrested in connection with plans to disrupt the Epsom Derby Festival.


    All were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance and remain in police custody.

    Activists from the group Animal Rising had pledged to disrupt the event, despite a High Court injunction banning them from doing so.

    Last week, the Jockey Club, which owns Epsom Downs, was granted the injunction against the group, claiming it had made “explicitly clear” it intended to breach security at the Surrey racecourse.

    And on Friday, Surrey Police warned they “will not tolerate” risks to public safety after an Animal Rising member told Sky News she would do “what’s necessary”, including breaking the law, to protect the animals.

    There was disruption at the Grand National at Aintree in April when the race was delayed by just over 10 minutes after demonstrators made their way on to the track and had to be removed by police.

    Police Liaison Officers at an animal rights protest group organized by Animal Rising outside the entrance of the race course ahead of the Derby Day of the 2023 Derby Festival


    In a defiant announcement following the arrests, Animal Rising said police would not stop them from disrupting the Derby.

    They said: “Earlier this morning, at least 10 arrests were made by Surrey Police, allegedly in connection with the Epsom Derby.

    “This comes after reports of facial recognition camera around Epsom Downs Racecourse.

    “Police heavy-handedness and intimidation tactics will not prevent a national conversation about our animals and the natural world.

    “It restates its commitment to protect horses and disrupt the Derby.”

    Animal rights protest group Animal Rising with signs outside the entrance of the race course


    Superintendent Michael Hodder of Surrey Police said: “We have been clear in our approach that criminal activity will not be tolerated at the Epsom Derby Festival.

    “As a result of intelligence, we have arrested 19 people who we believe were intent on illegally disrupting today’s events.

    “Our officers will be at the event throughout the day to continue in keeping the public safe and preventing criminality.”

    Jockey Club officials fear the protest will endanger participants, racegoers and horses, although they said they do not dismiss the right to peaceful protest and have offered Animal Rising an area near the racecourse’s entrance to demonstrate.

    The injunction granted by High Court judge Sir Anthony Mann bans people from going on to the racetrack and carrying out other acts with the intention and/or effect of disrupting the races.

    Those breaching the court order may be subject to contempt of court proceedings and fined or jailed.

    Surrey Police have been approached for comment.


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