Protesters 'horrify' children outside Lennon Bros Circus

A PROTEST outside the Lennon Bros Circus turned ugly yesterday when activists' "forced" pamphlets into the hands of children and locked teenagers in cages.

More than 50 animal rights protesters stood at the entrance to the circus for its first Caloundra performance, chanting and holding signs for the release of wild animals.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said protesters ambushed him and his son as they walked into the circus at the Caloundra City Soccer Club grounds.

"They just bombarded us and it scared the absolute s**t out of my kid," he said.

"I understand these people have their own beliefs and ideas, but that doesn't mean they have the right to shove it in the face of others, especially not kids because they don't understand."

Police were called to the circus about 3.30pm after a patron raised concerns for a seven-year-old boy, who had allegedly been locked in a cage with no bottled water, since noon.

Activists from Coast to Coast Animal Friends and Sunshine Coast Vegan Warriors joined together in the protest.

Protester Marie Marton said the event aimed to raise awareness of the issues associated with the use of animals in circuses.

She denied that anyone had forced pamphlets on circus patrons and said that the cages were used for visual effect.

"The teenagers in the cages were well and truly aware of what they were doing and are fighting against the horrible treatment of these beautiful and majestic animals," Ms Marton said.

"I think the parents would be concerned for the children who will realise the truth about the animals once they are inside.

"The signs we hold are factual, we were not forceful or aggressive towards anyone."

Lennon Bros Circus manager Cheryl Lennon said parents were horrified by the protesters.

"A four-year-old tugged on my arm and asked me why there were kids locked in a cage," Ms Lennon said.

"They were extremely intimidating to the patrons and we had a lot of disgruntled customers trying to explain to their children what was going on.

"Although they were quiet, I don't think what they did was peaceful."


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