Arrests in Critical Mass during Olympics ceremonyTagged as: olympics repression
My personal experience during the mass detentions of cyclists the las 27th July, during the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
My name is Victor. Last Friday night I’ve been unfortunately involved in the already famous mass detentions of cyclists during the Olympic Games opening ceremony, when the police arrested me and about 180 people more for taking part in a cycle ride called the Critical Mass.
Taking about myself, the main thing here is that I wasn’t actually taking part in this cyclist demonstration. I had just finished work and I was cycling heading around the Olympic Stadium to feel the atmosphere of the opening ceremony of the Games and to meet some friends.
I've finished work at 8 pm and I've decided to go to Victoria Park or close to the Olympic Stadium to see the fireworks of the Olympic opening ceremony. I was cycling alone for a while, and then, along Bethnal Green Road, I've meet a large number of cyclists heading East and I've just joined then. It was impossible for me to realise if it was something wrong or illegal in the parade of cyclists as the atmosphere was really peaceful, with everybody clapping and cheering, and there were police cars opening and closing the march, so I thought it was a cycle ride organized by the council because of the Olympic celebration. At some point, the cyclists wanted to carry on along Roman Road but we were told by some friendly police to turn to the right along Grove Road towards Mile End. Everything seemed pretty normal and good.
After cycling Bow Road from Mile End, not longer than 10-15min, We stopped for not even a minute at the Bow Flyover and, then, we've been suddenly kettled for a large number of policemen. This was about 9 pm. It was a lot of confusion and many violence scenes, with policemen pushing the people, throwing bikes away,... I didn't suffered any harm myself, but the situation was really unpleasant. Police were pushing in a really bad way most of us to reduce the space where they were keeping.
We've been kettled for about an hour until we've been sent in a bus to a police station close to Green Park. During this time nobody was allowed to drink or to go to the toilet. Our bikes were kept for the police and sent somewhere in a bus. Once we got the police station in the West End, we were kept outside the police station, in the entry of a garage, where it was really windy and cold, some of the cyclist didn’t have even a jacket, and no blankets were provides despite they were requested. Time was about midnight already.
After a couple of hours queuing, due to the large number of cyclists arrested, we’re stating to be sent to different police stations. I've been sent with 3 more people to the Catford Police Station. Once there I've got my details, finger prints and so taken and I've asked for a lawyer. I’ve been sent to a cell about 2 am and I spent a few hours there without the chance to talk to anybody.
Then, by 7:00 am, I was bailed subject to some conditions: not to go within 100 yards of any Olympic venue, not to enter any Olympic only carriage, not to enter the Borough of Newham with a bike and that I need to attend to the Police Station on the 12th of September. Then I was released, after more than 9 hours arrested, without having the chance to talk with a lawyer or without having even talk to the police about the reasons why I’ve been arrested. I didn’t have the opportunity to make any declaration. Released with conditions but not charged, apparently.
The police have kept my bike and they have told me they will give it back to me, but I’ve had to look for it contact different police stations, and I just went today, 5 day afters, to pick up it to the Charlton Car Pound, having to cycle a good amount of miles back home after being there dealing with the officers for a couple of hours.
Really sad it is possible to be arrested for being part of a congregation of peaceful people escorted by the police with no signs at any time that could make you aware that something was wrong and, what it make it worst, after about 10 hours deprived of freedom, not even have the right to talk to a solicitor. It is also ridiculous to have to accept some conditions to be free, without having being charge or having the chance to defend myself. Some of the conditions of the bail really disrupt and affect my normal life, without being proved that I’ve made anything wrong and illegal.
Previous police attempts to outlaw the monthly Critical Mass cycle ride through the streets of London unless its route is notified in advance were blocked by the law lords last 2008
Another of the 182 arrested sharing her personal experience.
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