So Who’s the Enemy?

It is quite amazing the lengths that animal abusers and those protecting them will go to, to try and prevent us from informing the public about the ethical and scientific wrongs of vivisection.

On Monday, 25th September, SPEAK campaign supporters held an information stall on Oxford Street in London, as they do every week. When heavy rain began to fall they took the leaflets and petition boards from the table and took shelter.

While sheltering from the rain they noticed a fully manned police van down a side street opposite, the occupants of which appeared to be watching them.

The rain continued for at least 1 ½ hours and still they sat there. When it eventually subsided, the leaflets and boards were put back on the table and soon people were approaching to find out about the campaign and sign the petitions.

Although we make it clear that we are not there to collect money, but to disseminate information, and have no collecting tin on the table, occasionally people leave a donation to contribute towards the running of the campaign, and a small amount of money had been left on the table. After a short time three police officers and an evidence gatherer left the van and approached the stall.

While the evidence gatherer busied himself taking photographs of the campaigners, petitions and the few £s sitting on the stall, the sergeant in charge began quoting the Police, Factories etc.(Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 and accusing the campaigners of collecting money without a licence. The campaigners made it quite clear that they were not collecting as they had no tin and were not asking anyone for money.

The sergeant eventually said that the next time anyone gave a donation they would let the court sort it out but the campaigners stood their ground as they knew that they were in the right.

As this was going on the evidence gatherer and a campaigner were both filming the situation, while bemused passers by looked on. All of a sudden the police pounced on a young German tourist who had been filming what was happening, and demanded to search him under terrorist legislation, claiming that he might have been filming with some ulterior motive!

Soon a large angry crowd gathered, shocked by both the infringement of civil liberties and the waste of police resources, with one young mother horrified with the waste of police time, when in her part of London children are terrorizing the neighbourhood unchallenged and citizens are unable to get the police to attend serious incidents.

Another member of the public complained at having his photograph taken by the evidence gatherer and was told that anyone is entitled to take pictures in a public place. When it was pointed out that that was precisely what the tourist was being searched for doing, he didn’t really have any answer!

When this farce was over the police slunk away, clearly very embarrassed at the scene they had caused and seemingly having forgotten the main purpose for their visit, and the campaigners continued with their stall. As on other such occasions when the police have tried to stop us, they only served to draw more attention and support to us, including the German tourist who was totally stunned that such a thing could happen to him in London

Information stalls will continue throughout the country to inform the public of the truth about vivisection that the vivisectors, the pharmaceutical industry and the government do not want them to know.

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