Dover Day of Action

17th February 1996

By 'K', Animal Rights Cambridge

On behalf of the above group, we hope that you are able to see the light at the end of the Ban Live Animal Export campaign tunnel. I, personally, take great solace in the fact that we are on the right and winning side even though the frustration at the speed of progress is enough to drive me crazy.

We arrived at 0800 and dropped off two with bail conditions not to go near the lairages and myself. The others went off to Skinner's lairage. We met up with them later outside Stirlings (the bent vet featured on Channel Four's Dispatches recently). The only notable thing here was that as the plod pushed everybody away from the vets I noticed an unnatural amount of cars pouring into a side road half way up. I realised that they were the diverted traffic from the road running at the back of the vets, unfortunately there was no way I could collect any body else except for a woman beside me so we made our way round the diversion and ended back where we started much to the constination of the thug looking riot police team. Five minutes later Skinner and police escort tore off from the front entrance.

By this time our lot had gone back to the lairage, so we went back to the Docks entrance, side tracked into a road blockage every so often, and waited for our comrades return. At around 1600 our van tore by and went into the dock, Not to be seen for another hour! In the mean time we were the only protesters left at this site and while we were explaining to the two remaining police that as no trucks had gone out today we were the early crew for Sunday a rigid calf transporter with trailer cruised into the docks.

Half hour later our van exits the dock entrance and looks a bit worse for wear. Apparently in an attempt to find some coffee the van cleared customs and passport control (because no body stopped them) and were headed for the ferry when they decided that after chanting a few slogans as they passed by the passenger area, it was a bit late in the day for a trip to the Continent and so were on the way out of the docks when the harbour police and customs freaked out and attempted to stop the van by putting a barrier down (expecting it to stop on a six pence?).

When that flies off into the air they then proceeded to ram the van front and rear. After passing these vehicles, the driver stopped when some calmer police flagged him down. However, one of the earlier coppers went absolutely ape, breaking off the wing mirror, breaking the drivers door window and trying to drag the driver out through it. The driver alledgedly had to bite the coppers hand to get him to release a neck grip on him and eventually was lead away by his calmer colleges. Meanwhile, an independant witness (a tourist bound for France and having nothing to do with the demonstration) came over to the van expressing his disgust at the violent way the driver was treated, and is prepared to be a witness for us.

The rest of the vans occupants were led away one by one and required to give personal details (under some bizarre maritime law that governs so-called restricted areas). Given the recent IRA security alert, you'd have thought that the powers-that-be would be more embarrassed than anything else! The driver spent six hours at Dover cop shop before being bailed, with conditions not to go into the docks.