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Niagara Falls
Friday, February 3, 2023
Horse protesters and Sentineal supporters negotiate new rules for demonstrations

A new agreement between horse carriage supporters and protesters has been established.

 Niagara Regional Police as well as support group Locals for Carriages, protesters At War For Animals Niagara and the owners of Sentineal Carriages negotiated the new deal, which sets out rules and protocols for protests and counter-protests.

This is the second time a good-faith agreement was put in place between protesters and carriage supporters. The first agreement was created in August 2018.

Sentineal Carriages’ co-owner Laura Sentineal said her company won’t be doing anything different because it has never done anything wrong in the first place.

“We’re doing what we’ve always done,” she said in a phone interview, adding it is “unfortunate” protesters didn’t invest time and money into “actually helping animals” because “if they did, I’d be right with them,” she said.

Sentineal, along with Jennifer Jones-Butski, who represented a support group Locals for Carriages, verbally agreed to the new protocol but didn’t sign it.

Adam Stirr, a member of the protest group,  said the only time protesters didn’t follow the previous agreement was on Sunday, Sept. 8, when after their demonstration on Queen Street, they moved to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124 on King Street where a pig roast was taking place.

Demonstrators did it to show other parties what their protests would look like without an agreement in place, Stirr said.

“That is what is considered a normal protest in any other city,” he told The Lake Report.

Stirr said he hopes the new agreement will let animal rights activists continue doing what they ’ve been doing for the past two years, such as standing in their usual spot on the corner and talking to people in a “nice peaceful manner.”

Jones-Butski said coming into the meeting about the new protocol, she was told not to discuss the Legion protest, which she said she was told was “an anomaly” and would never happen again if an agreement was negotiated.

“We didn’t really have an option other than (come to) an agreement just for the safety of drivers, the horses and the town,” Jones-Buski told The Lake Report, noting the support group’s legal  team advised them not to sign the agreement.

The new protocol states all parties agree to stay 10 feet or three metres away from each other, and 14 feet or four metres away from the horses.

Protesters will have no more than three people on the end of each of the flower beds on the corners of King and Queen streets.

All parties agreed to avoid speaking to each other and initiating contact with other businesses about their personal beliefs. Protesters also agreed not to engage with carriage drivers and customers.

Everyone agreed not to use megaphones and tripods within the protest area, and both the protesters and the supporters will keep their personal belongings, such as backpacks and signs, off the sidewalks.

According to the protocol, as long as conditions are met, the protesters will not follow the carriages by foot or vehicle.

All activities will be held in public places and all concerns should be reported to protest liaison officers from Niagara Regional Police.

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