Protestors at the Grand National who gained access to the Aintree racecourse claim that they were “brutalised” by Merseyside Police and security guards.
Police arrested more than 100 protestors at the Grand National and activists from campaign group Animal Rising attempted to scale fences around the racecourse and some failed to glue themselves to fences which delayed the race.
One man said in a video which was posted on the group’s social media with his arm in a sling, “He just poleaxed me, flattened me to the ground, hit me on this side and that fractured my collarbone.”
A caption on the video said, “On Saturday, we took peaceful action at the Grand National, to save lives and bring about a kinder world.
“In response, we were brutalised by police and private security, we’ve experienced broken bones, dog bites and pepper spray. Is this what democracy looks like?”
Anti-protest laws and police violently assaulting people while in handcuffs – this is the UK in 2023.
Solidarity with Animal Rising and thoughts for those injured at the Grand Nation, human and animal. https://t.co/PPemvUjz53
— Just Stop Oil (@JustStop_Oil) April 19, 2023
A Merseyside Police spokesman said, “The footage shown live on television on Saturday April 15 demonstrated the professionalism of our officers as they dealt with a co-ordinated protest involving large groups of people attempting to encroach onto the racecourse at Aintree.
“Despite the whole site covering an extensive perimeter of around five kilometres, our officers, with the assistance of security staff and members of the public, were able to deal with the challenging situation in a safe and appropriate manner.
“Merseyside Police is aware of a video posted online showing a number of protesters making claims following their arrests on Saturday.
“As of today (Wednesday April 19), Merseyside Police’s professional standards department has not received a complaint in relation to any of these claims.
“If we do receive any complaints in relation to this matter, they will be reviewed thoroughly in accordance with the Police (Complaints) Regulations 2020.
“We respect the right to a peaceful protest and expression of views, but criminal behaviour and disorder will not be tolerated and sadly this is what took place at the Grand National on Saturday in an attempt to disrupt the race, which resulted in the arrests.”