A PRO-HUNT rally planned by the Countryside Alliance could severely damage London‘s bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games, according to The Observer.

The hunting ban comes into force on February 18, and the CA plans a new demonstration in Parliament Square on that day.

The rally will coincide with a visit to London by inspectors from the International Olympic Committee who will assess London‘s plans and facilities.

Hunting leaders have already warned the organisers of the capital‘s bid that the country will be “at war” when the IOC inspectors visit London.

The hunting ban‘s coming into force is, according to The Observer, “likely to trigger the largest display of collective law-breaking in British history”, and if in addition the demonstration in Parliament Square turns violent, the Olympic bid could be badly damaged.

A country‘s stability is a key criterion when a candidate city‘s fitness to stage the Olympic Games is assessed.

“The question of law and order in Britain will become directly relevant,” CA spokesman Tim Bonner told the newspaper.

“It will be a strange situation for the IOC delegates. As they sit chewing their cornflakes over breakfast they will find themselves gazing at newspaper pictures of fox hunters putting two fingers up to the government.”

Officials for the London bid said they had been contacted by the CA over the timing of the IOC‘s trip.