KATE LOVELACE, Racehorse insurer in Wiltshire
One of the female protesters caught in Wednesday's violence, Ms Lovelace, 28, was recovering yesterday after receiving stitches to her lip after, she claims, being hit in face by a truncheon.
She said: "There was no major incident until after the vote had been given when tempers were really raised. The police were trying to get to the trouble beyond where I was standing and I was trying to push my way out of it. One policeman saw me coming towards him and hit me in the face with his truncheon. I felt the police were a bit heavy handed. However, some of the hunt supporters overstepped the mark."
Ms Lovelace, who is Secretary of the South Dorset Hunt Supporters Club, has been involved in hunts all of her life and said the ban will damage her work. "It will have a knock-on effect within racehorse insurance as a lot of horses are point-to-pointers - amateur racing which depends on hunts. It will affect my social life much more so. My whole life is based around hunting. That aspect of my life would vanish to a large extent," she said.
DANIEL MaCARTHY, Hunt servant in Dorset
Daniel MaCarthy, 23, a hunt servant from Shaftesbury in Dorset, said he was considering suing after police struck him across the head with a baton.
Mr MaCarthy, who has been with the Portman Hunt all his life, said: "I was standing at the front. It was all quiet and calm and I wasn't saying or doing anything. Suddenly one of the officers struck me across the forehead with his baton. I was stunned - it was a completely unprovoked attack. It would never have reached those levels had police acted more calmly."
Mr MaCarthy said it was impossible for him and people like him to comprehend a life without hunting. He said: "It's my life. It's my livelihood and without it, I don't know what I would do. The majority of British people do not care whether we hunt or not. If they were to drop the ban tomorrow, you wouldn't find a lot of people losing sleep over it, but you will certainly find a hell of a lot of people losing not only sleep but their jobs if it does go through.
"For my part, I am prepared to go to prison to defend my right to hunt."
JANE THORPE-CODMAN, Housewife from Peterborough
Jane Thorpe-Codman had travelled to London expecting to take part in a peaceful demonstration. But the 37-year-old, from Nassington in Peterborough, claims police knocked her over as she tried to leave Parliament Square. Mrs Thorpe-Codman, who has been hunting for 13 years with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, said of the attack: "I turned around, I wasn't threatening, waving a banner, shouting or anything. I had no interest in getting into a fight with a policeman."
"Two hands shoved my back and I fell to the floor. I banged my head and got quite a knock. Another policeman took me aside and said 'sorry, he's just seeing red mist'."
Mrs Thorpe-Codman, who has been on every major Countryside Alliance protest, insisted yesterday's violence would not stop her protesting in future. "The real problem is that people just don't understand how important it is to us. I don't call it a sport - to me, it's a tradition. What motivates me is the prospect of losing a way of life and my friends losing their livelihoods."
BRIAN PERRY, Worcestershire farmer
Brian Perry was back at his Worcestershire farm yesterday, nursing his wounds. Mr Perry claims he was struck on the back of his head three times by police truncheons as he tried to help a young girl on the ground. Mr Perry, 55, had been standing in the front line of the protest in Parliament Square when he was pushed to the ground by the surging crowd of protesters.
"I fell on top of a teenage girl and about six others fell on top of me. She was screaming for her breath and we were right at the feet of the policemen. As the others were getting off me, I felt a rain of truncheons ... I was absolutely pouring with blood," he said.
He was taken to St Thomas' Hospital where he had five staples inserted to close the wound. He has filed a complaint against the police.
Mr Perry, an active member of the Ludlow Hunt for 25 years, said the atmosphere was friendly at first but soon became confrontational. He remains determined to oppose the hunting ban. "The livery business is extremely important," he said. "Without it, it will reduce our income by up to £20,000 a year."Reuse content