182 Cyclists Arrested During Olympic Opening Ceremony
Mass Arrest of the Week
Critical Mass that is- 182 cyclists nicked during the Olympic opening ceremony
SchNEWS - 2nd August 2012 | Issue 822
London's Olympic ceremony didn't stand a chance of competing against Beijing in scale or spectacle, but Team GB is sure as hell giving the Chinese a run for their money when it comes to state repression.
182 cyclists nicked on a peaceful and law abiding critical mass bike ride. It's been all over the liberal papers the last few days, but of course you didn't hear about it at the time because our establishment betters didn't want anything distracting us from the Olympic opening ceremony. And what a ceremony it was: Danny-Trainspotting-Slumdog-Boyle pulled out all stops to show the world a diversity celebrating and freedom loving place our Sceptered Isle is- the Suffragetes and even the Hunger Marchers were glorified as belonging to the great British tradition of dissent, whilst at the same time the nearly 200 cyclists were kettled, beaten, pepper sprayed and herded onto buses to be transported away to a windowless garage for the night. It's just a shame that Danny-boy didn't think to broadcast the two events side by side in split-screen. That would have really given the two billion viewers a taste of Britain- myth and reality.
Adding insult to injury to those who bought a copy of the Grauniad after stumbling back home bleary-eyed from from whatever arse-end of London the Met had dropped them in and read Shami Chakrabti (director of leading human rights org Liberty) idiotically wittering on in the “World's leading liberal voice” about how the Ceremony was a "Celebration of Freedom". That probably stuck in the throats of people that had just experienced some British-style 'freedom' first hand. Really Shami? Didn't you get any calls that day? Forgot to check Twitter? Didn't you think that some people would resent you forever after they stepped in that printed turd you dropped? Rarely has the phrase “useful idiot” been more appropriate.
Amongst the, erm, Olympic highlights of the largest mass arrest since the London Riots was the arrest of a 13 yr old child and a disabled man pepper-sprayed for reasons best known to the uniformed thugs:
This is the Met in full “fuck you” mode. The fact that no lesser institution than the House of Lords had deemed that critical mass is legal and doesn't need to follow a predetermined route back in 2008 was irrelevant. The fact that basic police procedures, let alone human rights, were so flagrantly disregarded was of little concern to the authorities. There is a very high probability that a lot of the 182 will pursue legal action and probably gain thousands of pounds each. This has no doubt been factored in to the police's repression budget. Their logic being that in a year or two when once this has worked its way through the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) and civil courts only muesli-munching liberals will give a shit, but right now their orders are to stamp out even the slightest sign of dissent or even autonomy. The Olympics is about the State and its corporate paymasters, and the public, whether protesting or not, can go screw itself.
SchNEWS caught up with one of the 182 who had been arrested. She had this to say...
“We set off fine, but when we tried to go north over Waterloo bridge the police wouldn’t let us over - the people who tried were assaulted. So we went over a different bridge - the police got startled by this because by chance we'd accidentally bumped into David Beckham and his minders who were desperate to let him through to light the Olympic torch. When people said to them that Critical Mass doesn’t recognize hierarchy the police starting punching people out of Beckham's way.
We got split into groups - mine went through Shoreditch and then got kettled in Stratford, near Olympic Park. There they nicked everyone and took our bikes. We were put on a bus that the Met had commandeered, each arrestee sat next to a copper. We were on the bus from 9.30pm to 1am. Only one of us was allowed to use the toilet.
We were shunted from station to station and stuck in traffic. One policeman said to me that our bus wasn’t allowed to use the bus lane because "we were prisoners". We were taken to Croydon. Croydon said that they couldn’t hold us so we were told we were to be taken to Pumstead. We then heard that Plumstead wouldn’t have us so we were taken back to Croydon. At this point the bus driver (an ordinary bus driver, not police) told the police that he was not legally allowed to drive any more. I remember one policeman took out a calculator and started working out how many hours overtime he'd be getting. We started working out how much compensation we'd be getting.
We were unloaded at Croydon. I was sat on a concrete floor in a windowless garage until 2.30pm. We repeatedly asked for our solicitors to be contacted and this was denied. Our requests for food were denied. One girl was given some food after she nearly passed out. The rest of us were eventually given an apple.
Even the cops from South Yorkshire Police got really angry with the Met. Their shift had lasted from 11am until 9am the next day, and they were expected to work the next day too. They said that this wouldn't have happened to us if we'd been in Yorkshire.
The police lied to us and told us that we couldn’t collect our bikes until after our bail conditions were lifted, and they wouldn’t even tell us where our bikes were being stored. They also 'lost' our evidence slips.
This was feigned incompetence from the Met. We were eventually nicked for Section 12 and for causing a public nuisance when it was clear that Section 12 [of the Public Order Act] wouldn’t stick.
When we demanded our rights the police told us that PACE [the Police and Criminal Evidence Act] didn’t' apply to us because we were 'in transport' and so hadn’t been processed yet - hence all the shunting from station to station.
This was punishmet by process.”