Extinction Rebellion vegans have sparked fury by forcing out meat traders from London‘s famous Smithfield Market, covering their stalls with fruit and veg and shouting ‘beef equals grief’ as they arrived at work.
Activists from ‘Animal Rebellion’, an extreme vegan offshoot of the main environmental movement, occupied the iconic east London meat market yesterday evening.
Staging a ‘people’s assembly’ with speakers including TV presenter and animal lover Chris Packham, they demanded the Government oust all meat traders from the market and make it exclusively for fruit and veg sellers.
Dozens camped out overnight waiting for traders to arrive in the early hours – only to stop them setting up their stalls and covering them with plant-based food instead.
The protest sparked fury among workers and meat-lovers alike, as many claimed protestors are ‘interfering with people’s livelihoods’.
They were also accused of hypocrisy when Extinction Rebellion ‘rebels’ were pictured queuing up for snacks at McDonald’s and Pret A Manger.
Meat traders were enraged after they were told by the City of London Police not to use their lorries’ horns in case they woke sleeping protestors.
As the sun rose in London this morning Animal Rebellion activists awoke from their tents to occupy fruit and veg stalls at Smithfield Meat Market
While Animal Rebellion activists demanded the meat market is turned into a ‘plant-based emporium’ their fellow protestors queued up for snacks at McDonald’s (pictured)
Extinction Rebellion vegans have sparked fury by forcing out meat traders (pictured in white) from London’s famous Smithfield Market, setting up tents overnight and covering their stalls with fruit and veg
Some activists were seen dining on fruit and vegetables and drinking glasses of wine as regular Smithfield workers turned up
Dozens of protestors from ‘Animal Rebellion’, an extreme vegan branch of Extinction Rebellion, camped out overnight waiting for traders to arrive for work in the early hours – only to stop them setting up their stalls and covering them with fruit and veg
Martin Daubney MEP branded the plan to transform Smithfield into a ‘plant-based emporium’ as ‘abject nonsense’
Staging a ‘people’s assembly’ with speakers including TV presenter and animal lover Chris Packham (pictured), they demanded the Government oust all meat traders from the market and make it exclusively for fruit and veg sellers
Smithfield is the biggest meat market in the UK and is usually open from 2am until 8am to supply London’s restaurants, cafes and hotels with the best cuts on offer.
Martin Daubney MEP branded the plan to transform Smithfield into a ‘plant-based emporium’ as ‘abject nonsense’.
He tweeted: ‘Just been diverted around Smithfield Market which is about to be blockaded by #animalrebellion.
‘A numpty on the radio says they want to make it a ”plant-based emporium” this week. Sending solidarity to all workers in this iconic market.’
Dr Chris Newton asked what the police were doing to stop the sit-in, describing demonstrators as ‘rich, spoilt brats’.
Others joked it was a bad idea to anger meat traders equipped with meat cleavers in the early hours of the morning.
One person tweeted: ‘Winding up people with knives and meat cleavers at four in the morning is never a good idea.’
Morning breaks over Smithfield Market, one of London’s busiest Meat suppliers, as an Extinction Rebellion offshoot Animal Rebellion wake up after a night occupying the space which is usually open from 2am to supply London’s wholesale food industries
City of London police officers are pictured surveying the fruit and veg stalls set up by Animal Rebellion as meat traders look on
A sign that reads ‘Super tasty multi-award winning veggies’ advertising a plant-based catering service is pictured at Smithfield this morning
Another said: ‘Good luck with that! The market boys and girls won’t put up with your nonsense I doubt!’
Many others pointed out there is already a wholesale fruit, veg and flower market down the road at New Covent Garden Market.
But the fury continued elsewhere, with one person posting: ‘What bloody right has @ExtinctionR telling me or any of the hard working people at Smithfield Market what we can and cannot eat.
‘You’re interfering where I can travel, interfering with people’s day to day lives. You’ve no right whatsoever, so crawl back under your rocks.’
Despite the criticism, Animal Rebellion stood firm, staging a candlelit vigil overnight ‘in memory of all the animals who lost their lives’.
They tweeted: ‘As the Smithfield workers arrive, we want them to know that no-one should have to dismember animal bodies as part of an environment-ravaging system. We want to bring them with us on a journey of change.’
Some were seen dining on fruit and vegetables and drinking glasses of wine as regular Smithfield workers turned up.
Unable to access their stall plots they were pictured standing on the edges of the market staring at the mayhem.
Early morning traders at Smithfield Market in east London were met with messages such as: ‘Is it okay to eat animals’ daubed on the floor in chalk by Animal Rebellion activists
The protest sparked fury among workers and meat-lovers alike, as many claimed it is ‘interfering with people’s livelihoods’
The future is fruitilicious: Meat traders at Smithfield arrived at work this morning unable to set up their stalls as they were covered in fruit and vegetables
Signs are pictured on the entrance gates to Smithfield Market in east London demanding an end to animal farming and fishing. Protestors want the Government to turn Smithfield into a ‘plant-based emporium
Sound systems and camping equipment belonging to Animal Rebellion protestors are pictured inside Smithfield Market where they camped overnight to meet meat traders as they arrived for work today