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

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The Independent Online
From Mr Chris Payne

Sir: As representative of the company currently exporting thousands of veal calves through Coventry Airport, J. E. Bradshaw (letter, 15 April) can hardly be expected to be a disinterested commentator on the recent court rulings. In reducing the issues to those of public order and the demonisation of the protesters, he cleverly throws a smokescreen over the original reasons for the protests and the fact that many people regard his company's activities as representing the darker, unacceptable face of capitalism. Lawful as the law stands, but morally right? - definitely not.

No doubt Mr Bradshaw would like me, as a member of the public, to bottle up my "offended sensitivities" and turn a blind eye to the cruelties his trade perpetrates. I would go so far as to suggest that he would be more than content with a protest movement that is "out of control, leaderless and without a coherent strategy", because this would deflect public attention from the real issues.

What he must fear most continues to develop: a broad-based movement that does its work on many different levels and in many ways - raising awareness, informing, educating, lobbying to change the laws, demonstrating, and, yes, for some "direct action'' - which puts effective change as its main objective. Unfortunately for him, there is no decision to "abandon the constitutional route". Mr Bradshaw can be assured that there is a coherent movement "out there", which will not be deterred by his attempts to evade the real issues, which relate to his indefensible trade.

Yours sincerely,


Kenilworth, Warwickshire

15 April