An irate man was filmed punching a vegan activist in the face when she and other protesters stormed a Pizza Express in Brighton. Activists from animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) disrupted several restaurants in the seaside town yesterday evening toting placards and chanting slogans through megaphones. Video of the demonstration shows a woman with a loudspeaker shouting at people eating dinner while others chant ‘it’s not food it’s violence’ and ‘not your mum, not your milk’. A man who has been dining in the restaurant then stands up and says: ‘You’re scaring these people, f*** off now.’ He shoves the woman with the loudspeaker from behind and when she turns around to confront him, he punches her in the face.
The footage was tweeted out by DxE Brighton. Sussex Police said it received reports of a protester ‘punched by a customer’ on Sunday evening. At the same time as the restaurant demonstration, protesters chained themselves by the neck to pillars at Brighton’s nearby Town Hall. They shackled themselves for 24 hours starting at around 4pm on Sunday as part of a wider DxE demonstration against the ‘oppression of non-human animals’. The group, who first made headlines when masked activists spread fake blood in a McDonald’s in the city, are campaigning for an ‘animal bill of rights’ dubbed Rose’s Law. One of the protesters chained to the town hall called for Brighton City Council to support Rose’s Law, adding: ‘We are here today for all sentient beings, who are being oppressed by the unjust laws of a system that fails to represent them.
Another said: ‘I’m willing to risk arrest and my job security to raise awareness of speciesism – the oppression of non-human animals upon which our current system is reliant.’ A Sussex Police spokeperson said: ‘Incidents involving animal rights activists at several restaurants in Brighton on Sunday evening in which protesters with megaphones chanted slogans at diners, have been reported to police. ‘It was alleged that at one establishment a protester was punched by a customer and at another activists were thrown to the ground.’ A spokesperson for DxE Brighton said: ‘We must stand together against speciesism, but some are not ready to hear our message of equality and justice. ‘Today, whilst bringing this message to diners at the chain restaurant, we were violently attacked. It is not surprising that those consuming violence are quick to partake in it too.’ DxE has called for more acts of civil disobedience by supporters around the world between now and October 5 as part of a ‘global lockdown for animal rights’.