IN September of 2002 a massive gathering by the pro-hunting lobby on the streets of central London was said to have been the largest ever protest in the city.
One million people were said to have marched that day, attempting to sway the upcoming House of Commons vote on the ban on hunting with dogs. There were people on the streets from all walks of country life – fishing, shooting, fox hunting, stag hunting, and much more.
The march through London was peaceful and the message was clear, ‘Leave the Countyside Alone’. That message fell on deaf ears because the motion against hunting was successful and a date for the end of hunting was set.
Before the motion was passed there were several violent clashes between pro-hunters and the police in Parliament Square and in Brighton and Exeter, with the demo in London on the day the motion was passed being the most violent.
The police had, in my opinion, underestimated the mood and determination of the pro-hunters hemmed in on Parliament Square. There were several breeches of the police line as individuals tried to make it to the House of Commons.
Police reinforcements were summoned and many protesters had bloody wounds to the head. In return, some of the protesters threw solid metal grips used to hold the fencing together with police and photographers in the firing line; this could have been lethal had it struck anyone in the head.