Fuel convoy sets off despite fury at police tactics

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The Independent Online

The fuel protesters' convoy today resumed its journey, with organisers vowing they would not abandon their plans to reach London despite police opposition.

The fuel protesters' convoy today resumed its journey, with organisers vowing they would not abandon their plans to reach London despite police opposition.

About 20 lorries, together with a number of vans and cars, left Ferrybridge services off the M62 in West Yorkshire to make their way towards Manchester amid accusations of police heavy handedness towards drivers.

West Yorkshire police today warned members of the convoy they had issued a notice under Section 12 of the Public Order Act determining today's routes.

The same notice was issued by North Yorkshire police to stop the convoy, which left Newcastle yesterday lunchtime and intends to reach London on Tuesday, going into York city centre.

Truckers yesterday complained that police were videoing drivers, taking registration numbers and splitting the convoy up.

Today one of the protest leaders, farmer John Coxon, said the police had been heavy handed on orders "from above". He said protesters were very disillusioned by their actions.

Police around London plan to man checkpoints to stop lorries entering the capital on Tuesday for a rally in Hyde Park.

Supt Francis Habgood, of West Yorkshire Police, denied his officers had been heavy handed and said videoing demonstrations was "quite normal".

Several lorries and a number of cars have joined the convoy since yesterday, when about 15 lorries made their way to West Yorkshire.

Just before 11am the convoy briefly pulled into a service station to observe a minute's silence for Remembrance Day. "After we explained what we were doing, the police moved off and let us pay our respects," said Mr Coxon.

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