Protesters clash with circus organisers

Animal rights protesters clashed with the organisers of a travelling circus in Derry at the weekend.

The disturbance occurred in Drumahoe at the main entrance of the Sydney Circus on Saturday where protesters have been picketing since it arrived on Thursday.

Protestor Joanne Mullan said that circus management attempted to remove placards from protesters during a series of angry exchanges.

"We are totally opposed to travelling circuses that involve animals, she said. "We do not believe that these animals perform willingingly. We are also concerned that this circus is not properly regulated. We had a number of visits from circus workers. They first sent someone up dressed in a kangaroo suit to intimidate us. Then a very angry circus worker came up and tried to take away our placards.

"They said we had to move as we were standing in the way of people who were trying to go to the circus.We have nothing against circuses, just against circuses that have animals."

Circus organiser, Alexander Scholl, said he had "nothing to hide".

"Our staff were only doing their job, he said. "Our elephants that are on show were born into this circus.

"We have nothing to hide. I have spoke many times to the protestors and asked them to come and see the conditions our animals live in.

"They are not interested in doing this."