PROTESTERS have gathered in the City of London to campaign against animal cruelty.

Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of climate change group Extinction Rebellion, set off from Smithfield Market in Farringdon where they held a rally for speeches before parading through the city.

About 600 protesters, who included members of the groups Defend Direct Action-Animal Offensive and Camp Beagle, as well as members of a second Extinction Rebellion offshoot, Ocean Rebellion, held up banners and signs saying “Unite for Animal Justice”, “Free the MBR Beagles” and “Meat is Murder”.

The campaigners stopped traffic and were escorted by hundreds of Metropolitan Police and City of London police officers.

The National:

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They played drums and blew whistles, stopping at one point outside Blackfriars station.

The protest is about two miles long and will include stops at different businesses in the City.

One rally was held outside the London offices of the British multinational food company Unilever.

An Animal Rebellion member told the crowd outside the offices on Victoria Embankment near Blackfriars Station that Unilever had contacted their group following their campaigning, which was greeted with cheers.

Speeches were held, with the event lasting about 20 minutes.

The Metropolitan Police tweeted there was a blockage at Blackfriars Bridge due to the protesters and it was resolved shortly afterwards.

The demonstrators next staged a sit-in outside the offices of Cargill, an agricultural company, in nearby Queen Victoria Street.

The National:

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One speaker, known only as Tim, told the crowd: “We are outside Cargill today, a company, in good part, behind a massive expansion of broiler units and animal slaughter across Herefordshire and Shropshire, making those counties the capital of chicken abuse.”

The crowd booed Cargill, before Tim urged those gathered to “go vegan”.

They later moved on from the Cargill offices and looped round New Change, near St Paul’s Cathedral.

They were chanting “Whose skin? Not ours” and “Whose flesh? Not ours” repeatedly as they marched.

The National:

Members of Animal Rebellion and Ocean Rebellion stopped outside the Marine Stewardship Council offices in Snow Hill.

They held up a large structure of an octopus and banners which read “Ocean Rebellion” and “MSC sustainable fishing is a lie”.

All the campaigners then held a sit-in outside the offices and held a moment’s silence for aquatic animals “who are born into captivity, where they suffer and are killed”.

Founder of campaigning group Animal Think Tank, Laila Kassam, led the minute’s silence and spoke to the crowd.

Ronan Falsey, a member of Camp Beagle, said he was delighted with the turnout and that Animal Rebellion and Camp Beagle had joined forces for the march along with the other groups.

“I joined Camp Beagle because I’m a dog lover and until I was aware of them, I had no idea there was still testing being done on animals,” he told PA.

“There’s currently an injunction pending which bans us from protesting at the camp [at MBR Acres], so we’ve decided to bring it right under the noses of the Government instead.”

Speaking about the protest, he added: “It’s great. We’re all here for the same purpose, and there are people here who are supporting animal activism or animal welfare.”

Elsewhere in London, a community outreach event was held in Brixton by Extinction Rebellion. Members of the group gave speeches at Brixton Recreation Centre.