April 13, 2006

Seal hunt protesters say blockaded by Canadians

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Activists protesting against Canada's
annual seal hunt said dozens of angry hunters and fishermen had
trapped them in their hotel in northeast Quebec on Thursday and
damaged one of their vehicles.

The activists are demanding an end to the hunt, during
which 325,000 harp seal pups will be shot and beaten to death
on ice floes off Canada's Atlantic Coast. Canada's government
says the hunt helps the local economy and keeps the seal
population in check.

Mark Glover from Humane Society International said about a
dozen activists and journalists were trapped in a hotel in the
port town of Blanc-Sablon, across the Strait of Belle Isle from
the island of Newfoundland.

"We're being prevented from leaving by about 60 local angry
sealers and fisherman outside. They've wrecked one of the
vehicles we were in. It is an extremely dangerous and
uncomfortable position to be in," he told CBC television.

Separately, the Humane Society of the United States said a
car containing team members and journalists was run off the
road into a ditch earlier in the day as it tried to get to a
chartered helicopter.

Local police were not immediately available for comment.

Last months a group of activists observing the hunt were
arrested for getting too close to hunters.