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Thousands join countryside march

PUBLISHED: 17:33 22 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

PROTESTERS on the Liberty and Livelihood rural rights march flocked to London in their thousands today.

They came from many walks of life across the country and were just as varied in their reasons for joining the march.

PROTESTERS on the Liberty and Livelihood rural rights march flocked to London in their thousands today.

They came from many walks of life across the country and were just as varied in their reasons for joining the march.

Some like celebrity anti-hunt campaigners such as Jenny Seagrove, Elizabeth Emanuel and Michaela Strachan spoke out about the Countryside Alliance as being a march motivated by the preservation of fox hunting.

But Cathy Svendsen, 48, a teacher from Somersham, near Ipswich, said: "I have come on the march because it is a matter of civil liberties. The government is interfering too much in the private lives of individual people.

"The whole countryside has been neglected by this government, all they do is interfere and when they do they get it wrong, such as during the foot and mouth crisis."

Her husband Olav, 57, a hairdresser, said: "Any modern democracy needs to govern with consent. This government is in danger of losing the consent of a large number of its people and that is very dangerous.

"I think there will be civil unrest if the government goes ahead with banning fox hunting. "

National Farmers Union President, Ben Gill, said: "I am here with everybody else because there are really serious concerns about the economic meltdown that is taking place in the countryside.''

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson, who keeps pigs and grows vegetables in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, added: "I am here to support all the issues about the countryside.''

Labour MP Kate Hoey added: "Tony Blair needs to show leadership on this whole issue.

''If hunting is banned shooting and fishing will follow.

''The Government was elected to create unity in this country and not create division.''

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