Police are investigating an assault after animal rights activists clashed with traders at a livestock market over the weekend.
The Norwich Livestock Market is routinely picketed by animal rights activists and has been for the past few years – protests which largely end up going by without incident.
However, on Saturday, March 7, Norfolk Constabulary received a report of an assault on a woman as protesters blocked the road leading up to the market on Hall Road.
The incident, which was filmed and published on social media, saw activists lining the road approaching the market, greeting farmers and traders as they arrived and obstructing their path.
The incident has prompted a call for calm from organisers of the livestock market, who said the protests got in the way of farmers going about their routines.
Mike Beckett, vice chairman of Norfolk Livestock Market, said: ‘We have had protests at the market for the past few years and on the whole we have no problem with them being held – people are well within their rights to protest and have their beliefs.
‘However, the farmers who attend the market are simply trying to go about earning a living in a profession that has existed for hundreds of years. They have just as much right to go about their business as the protesters have to demonstrate.’
A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: ‘Officers are investigating a report of an assault in Hall Road, Norwich, shortly before 10.30am on Saturday. A protest was taking place outside the livestock market in Hall Road at the same time.
‘There is a right to peaceful protest and assembly in this country. Everyone has the right to free speech and protest and officers have to balance actions and views of people with passionate and firm views on both sides.’