Boxing Day hunt descends into mass brawl with punches thrown between protestors and hunting supporters

A brawl reportedly broke out ahead of a planned hunt in Wiltshire on Monday, with footage of the event apparently showing people descending into fighting.

Video clips circulating on Twitter show punches being thrown as protestors and hunt saboteurs arrived before the annual Avon Vale Boxing Day Hunt in Lacock, which took place on 27 December.

Footage shows a confrontation outside a pub in which people surge back and forwards as punches are thrown.

A woman can also heard shouting “get him away” at a female police officer, who responds by saying: “Stop shouting, how dare you speak to me like that?”

It is not clear who was involved in the violence or what sparked it but the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) has accused hunters of “resorting to violence”.

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Lee Moon, spokesperson for the HSA said: “Fox hunters’ backs are against the wall and they’re increasingly resorting to violence as the pressure increases.

“Boxing Day is the most prestigious day in the hunting calendar with the mainstream media watching on and still these violent thugs can’t behave themselves for a few hours.”

Wiltshire Police confirmed it sent officers to the hunt in response to reports of tensions between the two groups.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We were aware of a planned local hunt in Lacock today (Monday) and officers attended at around 11am when concerns were raised about tensions between those involved in the hunt and protestors.

“Officers remained on the scene to manage the two groups and they had dispersed by around 12.30pm.

“At this stage no arrests have been made but our enquiries are continuing.”

Avon Vale Hunt said it was aware of an incident in Lacock but said it did not know if any of its supporters were involved.

A spokesperson for the hunt said: “The hunt has been made aware of an incident that occurred just after the hounds had left the meet in Lacock today.

“We do not know the circumstances but we do not condone violence even in the case of extreme provocation by anti-hunting protestors whose sole purpose is to antagonise those supporting a lawful activity.

“We do not know if any hunt supporters were involved but we would like to thank the many hundreds of people who peacefully attended today in support of our hounds.”

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