LETTER:Law should distinguish between `mob' and peaceful protesters

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter Thornton QC

Sir: It is little wonder that the judges failed to do justice to the views and activities of the peaceful protesters against live animal exports (Letter, 18 April). The demonstrators, who were firmly labelled in the judgment with the "mob" tag, were not represented, individually or collectively.

No doubt there has been some violence and some unlawful activity (although the number of arrests has been low compared with the miners' strike or the Wapping dispute). But the law ought to distinguish between the actions of a few and the behaviour and genuine intentions of many law-abiding citizens.

This was surely the case for an amicus brief, if only to put forward a point of view about the right of protest which went unargued. it might not have redressed the balance against the interests of the docks, police and traders and not left the innocent protester with another grievance.

Yours faithfully,



Civil Liberties Trust

London, SE1

18 April