Updated 23.07.19 — with a statement from the Soho Vegan Market.
Two men who ate dead squirrels in protest at a vegan market in Soho this spring have been fined. As first reported by Evening Standard, Deonisy Khlebnikov and Gatis Lagzdins, the ringleader and author of a disturbing alt-right YouTube channel, staged the protest at the Soho Vegan Food Market on Rupert Street, London, on 30 March this year.
In a video posted by the Evening Standard, Lagzdins, on his “carnivore tour” at the time, can be seen skinning the dead squirrel before biting into its flesh. To be clear, the animal was uncooked. He wore a black vest bearing the slogan “Veganism = Malnutrition.”
Lagzdins, whose alias is sv3rige, trades in shock. He was behind the raw pig’s head-eating protest at VegFest in Brighton in April and specialises in a cocktail of racism, nativism, flat Earth theory, and ableism. He also reportedly stabbed four schoolmates in Latvia when he was 16.
Both Deonisy and Lagzdins denied using disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress at a trial at City of London Magistrates’ Court last month. However, both were found guilty on that charge yesterday (Monday, 22 July).
Natalie Clines, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Deonisy Khlebnikov and Gatis Lagzdins claimed they were against veganism and were raising awareness about the dangers of not eating meat when they publicly consumed raw squirrels.
“But by choosing to do this outside a vegan food stall and continuing with their disgusting and unnecessary behaviour despite requests to stop, including from a parent whose child was upset by their actions, the prosecution was able to demonstrate that they had planned and intended to cause distress to the public,” Clines added.
It’s worth noting that the pair chose not to protest with, say, a pigeon. Or a chicken. Or a steak.
Clines concluded: “Their pre-meditated actions caused significant distress to members of the public, including young children.”
Soho Vegan Market, which has been open for nearly a year, said in a statement that it was created for vegans and non-vegans to “try delicious and different plant based food in a brilliant and easily accessible location in the heart of London.”
They added that between the thousands of visitors over the past 12 months there had been no conflict “between vegans and meat eaters at all, which of course is what we are aiming for.”
“We do not condone the actions of known anti vegan YouTuber Sv3rige, were disappointed that it disrupted the vibrant and diverse weekly event and are glad to see those involved have been charged for their actions.
“We would like to thank the police and others who reacted quickly to prevent any further disruption or upset to our patrons.”
Khlebnikov, who claims he was inspired by Lagzdins and who says he regularly ate raw meat (squirrel, though?) to combat stomach complaints, was fined £200 plus costs of the prosecution. Lagzdins, who did not attend the hearing, was fined £400 plus costs.