I attended the Boxing Day parade of the Southdown & Eridge hunt in Lewes.
As an opponent of hunting, I wished to make my views known. Personally, I did not shout abuse preferring to let my flag and t-shirt convey my views.
Whereas I was anticipating verbal abuse from some who hold different views to my own I did not expect to be surrounded by a violent lynch mob.
My flag was snatched from me and I was punched on the chin and I am a 62-year-old woman. All of this from a town displaying a large banner proclaiming Peace and Goodwill.
Despite evidence to the contrary, many hunt supporters are adamant that foxes are no longer killed by hunts as they only participate in trail hunting, a view that they are perfectly entitled to hold. However, the behaviour of some of the pro-hunt supporters who appeared to have no respect for fellow human beings and certainly not for age or gender did nothing to persuade me that the chasing and killing of a fox by a hunt would be disapproved of or reported.
It has been suggested that the violence and verbal abuse the anti-hunt protesters were subjected to was their own fault as they should not have been there, particularly if they were not local people.
In effect, this is saying that the event is for locals only and Lewes becomes a ‘no go area’ with mob rule and no visitors are welcome at the event especially if they hold alternative views.
I watched film of a demonstration held the same day in another town and although both pro-hunting and anti-hunting people attended, there was no violence as experienced at Lewes.
Lewes may be proud of their tradition, but are they also proud of their behaviour?
V Boultwood (Mrs)