Grand National delayed after animal rights protestors breach Aintree course
The Grand National 2023 has been delayed after animal rights protestors breached the steel fence surrounding the Aintree racecourse.
The race, which was due to start at 5:15pm BST, was pushed back with horses then held in the paddock.
Protestors from Animal Rising were seen jumping over the fence surrounding the racecourse, with police rushing to contain the protest.
Clashes with police followed, with protestors seen attaching themselves to fences, while others could be seen passing ladders over the fence and some were even able to break through the perimeter.
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“We have an indefinite delay,” confirmed ITV presenter Ed Chamberlin. “Protestors have got on to the racecourse.
“A developing situation at Aintree, horses held in the paddock, these are scenes outside the racecourse, trying to disrupt the most popular race in the world.
“They did create a ring of steel around the racecourse this morning. Up to 300 protestors here. We might have a delay here at Aintree.”
Chamberlin later added: “This race will not be run while there is any danger to its participants.”
The delay follows three people arrested earlier on Saturday. Two women aged 33 and 25, both from London, and a man were arrested on Saturday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, Merseyside Police said.
It comes after climate and animal rights group Animal Rising said up to 300 activists would scale fences and enter the track to prevent the race from starting. The group also said they would block traffic by performing a slow march along Ormskirk Road, the main access route.
About 50 animal rights protesters gathered outside Aintree Racecourse on Saturday morning. Footage later released by the group shows officers carrying a protester away from a demonstration outside the racecourse.
The Grand National was then given the green light to go ahead at 5:21pm, with horses and riders soon returning to the paddock.
The race was then underway at 5:30pm.