On Friday, we were all thrilled by the opening ceremony, well all thrilled except one Member of Parliament who attends parties where the dress code is Nazi uniform. We saw suffragettes, we celebrated the NHS, we saw winged cyclists.
Meanwhile outside it was business as usual. A Critical Mass cycle ride seen by some as protest at the Zil Lanes but in reality simply to exercise the right to cycle on the public highway was brutally attacked by the police. The police reaction was totally over the top. The police could have simply let the cyclists pass through, point made, and that would have been the end of the matter but that sadly is not the way the mentality of the Met works.
Something like 200 cyclists were arrested. They were held on a bus all night without food or drink whilst they waited to be processed.
Mass arrests for the heinous crime of “cycling in a group north of the river Thames” on the opening night of an Olympics, which is supposed to be promoting access to sport and active travel, sends a clear message about how committed Games organisers Locog are to any legacy other than a financial one.
A diverse group of people attempting to celebrate their right to use the road safely and in an environmentally friendly manner , which they have been doing for several years and even won the right to do so in the House of Lords, should be promoted by the Olympics, rather than persecuted for fear of their creating a four or five minute delay on the precious Zil Lanes. As Critical Mass is a long-running sporting tradition in London and many other cities across the world, Locog should have made sure they accommodated it — the Olympics are disrupting normal life in the city enough already without infringing the rights of the participants in one of few sporting events which no one is able to make a profit from.
On Friday 27th July, 182 cyclists were held in a police kettle for two hours, handcuffed in buses for three hours, and held in a police cell from six hours to two days. These included a 13 year old boy. Police also confirmed the cyclists reports that CS gas was used during these arrests.
Out of 182 cyclists, only 3 have been charged with any offence. However, ALL have bail conditions imposed on them until September 18th 2012 restricting their freedom to move, assemble, associate and live their lives.
We have the following demands:
- All bail conditions should be discharged
- All data including DNA, fingerprint, addresses etc taken from those cyclists should be removed from all paper and comupter records of police & other agencies
- An independent review of the thuggish police behaviour on Friday 27th July should be conducted as a matter of urgency
All this for continuing the 18 year tradition of a bike ride through the streets of London on the last Friday of every month.
Some of those arrested were nothing to do with the Critical Mass cycle ride. They simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on a bike (which in the eyes of the Met is a heinous crime requiring cuffing and detention).
This political policing to crush dissent and restrict people’s rights without charge must be stoppped. Help us stand for a police and legal system which we can believe in, please sign our petition today:
Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to win the Tour de France, has increased awareness and interest in cycling. A massive own goal by the Met.
Was this the image London 2012 wanted broadcast around the world on the opening night, police brutality against a bunch of cyclists?
Critical Mass is a mass cycle ride that takes place around the world on the last Friday of the month.
- The Total Policing of Critical Mass – An Eye Witness Report
- Cycling arrests raise questions about legacy Olympic organisers want to leave
- Celebrating protest inside the Olympic Games while stopping it outside
- Critical Mass arrests: police charge three
- Mass arrests at monthly cycling event in London on Olympic ceremony night (VIDEO, PHOTOS)