Anti-fur protest halted under harassment law

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The Independent Online

Animal rights protesters have been barred from demonstrating outside a London fur shop under anti-harassment legislation.

Animal rights protesters have been barred from demonstrating outside a London fur shop under anti-harassment legislation.

A High Court judge ordered the ban against four campaigners and a pressure group, London Animal Action, in respone to three years of protests outside the Belgravia store of Philip Hockley Limited.

The injunction was granted amid claims that customers and staff were regularly abused and threatened by demonstrators, who allegedly made menacing phone calls, sent letters and attacked the store.

An application from the furrier named Claire Persey, Paul Gravet, Gerrard O'Sullivan and Nigel Cooke as being responsible for the protests. The campaigners are now barred from the streets surrounding the shop and the homes of directors Frank Silverton and Frank and Alison Zilberkweit in Hampstead, north London.

Judge Bentley QC, who made the order under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act, said: "I am of no doubt that the course of conduct in which the protesters have engaged constituted harassment."

The protesters had argued that the ban would infringe their human right to free speech. The judge ruled the right was "not absolute". The group has vowed to continue its protest away from the fur shop.

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