Violence feared as activists target Cambridge

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The Independent Online

More than 1,200 police officers from 11 forces are being drafted into the city of Cambridge and the surrounding area today amid fears that a demonstration by animal rights activists and anarchists could become violent.

More than 1,200 police officers from 11 forces are being drafted into the city of Cambridge and the surrounding area today amid fears that a demonstration by animal rights activists and anarchists could become violent.

The £250,000 operation, the biggest ever mounted by Cambridgeshire police, will include 20 police horses, dogs and two helicopters.

The focus of the protests - called Cambridge in August Actions - is expected to be Huntingdon Life Sciences, a research centre 15 miles from Cambridge that uses animals. Various groups of environmental activists have pledged to take part in the demonstrations that are expected to include a march through the city.

Cambridgeshire police have mounted the operation in an attempt to ensure that the demonstration does not turn into the rioting and destruction seen at anti-capitalist protests in London. The organisers of the protest have refused to tell them where they plan to demonstrate.

A police spokeswoman said: "We are expecting people demonstrating against animal experiments, GM crops, hunting, and protesters from Reclaim the Streets. The organisers have claimed there will be thousands and thousands of people; we think there may be about 1,000, but we just don't know."

The protests have been advertised on various eco websites, including one that says: "Day of action for social justice including actions on animal rights, anti-genetics, asylum rights, environmental protection, etc."

Earlier in the week, four members of the organisation Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty were arrested and charged with inciting others to commit criminal damage, grievous bodily harm, and harassment.

Earlier in the year campaigners wrote to shareholders of Huntingdon Life Sciences and threatened to stage protests outside their homesunless they sold their holdings.

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