AT THE corner of Great George Street, a bank of anti-hunt protesters stood behind a barrier, separated from their opponents by three feet of space and another barrier lined by a wall of Met police.

To a pounding jungle beat bashed out by an accompanying band, a middle-aged, grey-haired woman called out into a megaphone: "Get out of your Range Rovers and onto your local bus!"

Another anti-hunt supporter yelled: "I'm looking forward to seeing you lot in jail," but the cries of "torturers and murderers" were largely drowned out by the band, and anyone who stopped to stand and look was shepherded along by the police.

The protesters' banners read `This is a democracy, not an aristocracy', `This country is not your playground', `No excuses, animal abuses', `Ban blood sports', `Royal Hobby', `No more lies, no more cries, ban hunting with hounds'.

One banner showed a disembowelled fox covered in blood, lying dead in a field.

`He must have died laughing', read the slogan below.

Another banner read `Persecution of wildlife is not liberty, it's cruelty'.

Pat Appleton, an Ulverston-based member of the League Against Cruel Sports, said the march had succeeded in "hijacking genuine concerns about the countryside" and was wrongly portrayed as a show of strength for fox hunting.

"It is the Countryside Alliance who cannot accept the democratic process," said Mrs Appleton.

"They were not saying a lot, or marching when coal mines were being closed across the country, and the steel industries shutting down."

Of fox hunting, she said the league sees no difference between a domestic pet being chased across the countryside and " ripped apart" than that of a wild fox.

She said: "The march has been aimed at intimidating the Labour government and trying to stop the ban on hunting going ahead.

The Labour government has the majority and I am so disappointed that they have not used it to get this bill through long ago.