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(Reuters) - The Epsom Derby was delayed on Saturday after six protesters from campaign group Animal Rebellion entered the course and had to be removed by the police.
The protesters wore sashes with the words "Animal Justice" as they demanded an end to horse racing. The protest came 109 years to the day since suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of a horse at the same derby.
"Horse racing took the lives of 220 animals on race courses in the UK last year and this is just the tip of the iceberg. In this country over a billion land animals are killed for food each year," Orla Coghlan, who was at Epsom, said in a statement put out by Animal Rebellion.
"Exploitation of, and violence against, animals is fuelling the climate emergency and suffering across the globe. It is obvious we must choose life over death and stop animal exploitation."
Surrey Police said six women were arrested.
"Officers policing The Derby at Epsom Downs responded to a protest which took place on the home straight at around 16:25 today (4 June)," the statement said. "Six women were immediately detained by officers and arrested for aggravated trespass, and the race continued as scheduled."
Last month, Animal Rebellion blockaded distribution centres of McDonald's in Britain to demand the global restaurant chain turn to plant-based foods.
Some of their activists were also involved in a disturbance at a military parade in London at the start of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee on Thursday.
Desert Crown, a 5-2 favourite ridden by Richard Kingscote, won to give trainer Michael Stoute his sixth win at the Derby https://twitter.com/EpsomRacecourse/status/1533112088574537734.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)