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Press Release – Protesters to take Tower Hamlets to court over anti-Olympic speeches ban

Press Release from Counter Olympics Network 23rd July 2012

Embargo to 5pm on 23 July 2012

Contact Julian Cheyne (after 1pm) 02035604064 or 07988401216

Protesters to take Tower Hamlets to court over anti-Olympic speeches ban

Anti-Olympic activists in the Counter Olympics Network (CON) have today served papers on Tower Hamlets demanding that it reverse its ban on anti-Olympic speeches and events following CON’s Demonstration against the Corporate Olympics on Saturday 28th July.

CON was informed on 18 July 2012 that Tower Hamlets refuses to allow speeches or other events at Wennington Green, where its march will end. This is despite CON obtaining permission from the police and from Transport from London for its demonstration.

Tower Hamlets Council denies placing restrictions on freedom of speech, saying that they could not allow the event as they simply did not have sufficient notice of it. But CON first wrote to Tower Hamlets on 11 June setting out details of their protest, and by law protesters only have to give the authorities six days notice of an event.

After receiving notice of the event, Tower Hamlets initially wrote back to CON on 22 June refusing permission for it; but after coming under pressure from the police and from elected officials in the borough changed tack, writing to the protesters on 10 July to say that they would be given permission, before finally banning the event on 18 July.

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Filed under: CON press release

Press Release: Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

(Contact Julian Cheyne after 1pm on 020-3560 4064 and 07988 401216)

Press Release from Counter Olympics Network – 16th July 2012

The iconic Vancouver Poverty Olympics Torch will make an historic appearance in London. The East London Poverty Torch Relay will herald the ‘Whose Games? Whose City?’ Demonstration against the Corporate Olympics to be held on July 28th. Counter Olympics spokesperson, Julian Cheyne, said:

‘The Poverty Torch Relay highlights long-standing Olympic issues of eviction, land seizure and the exclusion of the poor. London 2012 is no different. The Olympics epitomises corporate power and growing social inequality.’

The Torch was handed over to London at a ceremony at the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver in 2010, visited Glasgow in March 2012 and was received by the Counter Olympics Network at the Bishopsgate Institute in April 2012.

Julian Cheyne added: ‘This is a milestone in Olympic protest – the first time, to our knowledge, that a protest torch has been handed from one host city to another. We hope this will be a feature of protest in future host cities.’

On Saturday 21st July, the Torch will go from ‘Lympic Stratford and end at bulldozed Wanstead Flats, where there will be an open day arranged by the Met to look at the police facility from 11am to 3pm. Our runners will be received by members of the Save Wanstead Flats campaign at the end of the open day event.

On Friday 27th July, the Torch will go from scenic Clissold Park to the unsightly basketball training facility at Leyton Marsh. The Save Leyton Marsh campaign will hold a welcome party for the torch.

The relays will start at 2pm. Allowing roughly an hour to complete the routes means the runners should arrive at both end points at about 3pm.

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Filed under: CON press release

COUNTER OLYMPICS PROTESTORS WILL DEFY DEMO BAN

PRESS STATEMENT – COUNTER OLYMPICS NETWORK

(phone contacts: Julian Cheyne 020-3560 4064, 07988 401216, Albert Beale 020-7278 4474) 

12 July 2012 

COUNTER OLYMPICS PROTESTORS WILL DEFY DEMO BAN

A packed meeting of Counter Olympics activists agreed last night to march through Bow on Saturday 28 July in protest at the corporate takeover of the London 2012 Games. The protestors will defy an attempt by Transport for London to ban the demo.

The meeting, representing an alliance of 43 campaign groups (see below), plans to assemble at Mile End Park at 12 noon, march down Bow Road, up Fairfield Road (past the planned site of a ground-to-air missile), and down Roman Road, ending with a ‘People’s Games for All’ rally and festival at Wennington Green.

When activists met representatives of the Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets Council, and Transport for London on 9 July, TfL said they would not sanction a march along Bow Road, claiming it is part of the ‘Alternative Olympic Route Network’ (AORN).

The AORN network is an alternative route for use during the London 2012 Games if the main Olympic Route Network (ORN) should for any reason be blocked.

Comments

Counter Olympics Network (CON) spokesperson Julian Cheyne said: ‘The ORN will be used exclusively by the IOC, Olympic officials, sponsors, media, and athletes. Even ambulances are barred. The IOC are getting luxury accommodation in the West End and will ride around in chauffer-driven BMWs at public expense. They will have priority over all other road users.

‘Everyone else will be herded onto congested roads and overloaded public transport. The ORN will be a 35-mile ribbon of class privilege running acrossLondonfor the duration of the Games. It will cause six weeks of blocked roads, traffic congestion, and closed bus routes, cycle lanes, and pedestrian crossings.

‘But the AORN isn’t even part of this. It will only come into operation if the ORN suffers some kind of breakdown. The idea that you ban free speech and shut down democracy to ensure that the rich have an alternative priority highway is an outrage.’

The protest meeting, held from 7 to 9pm at theSchoolofOrientaland African Studies last night (11 July), decided that the demonstration will follow the route already agreed but use the pavement if necessary.

CON spokesperson Albert Beale said: ‘We’ve done everything we can to accommodate the authorities – giving early notice of our intention to march, avoiding the ORN network and the immediate vicinity of the Olympic Park, agreeing to use the parks proposed by the local council, and so on. But we won’t be denied our right to protest, so we will be marching down Bow Road, and if we are restricted to the pavement, the stupidity of the resulting congestion and delay will be the responsibility of Transport for London.’

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Filed under: CON press release, events

Press Release from Counter Olympics Network

COUNTER OLYMPICS NETWORK
PRESS RELEASE – 24 June 2012 – for immediate release

WHOSE GAMES? WHOSE CITY?

CRITICS OF LONDON OLYMPICS ANNOUNCE LARGE SCALE EVENT TO COINCIDE WITH FIRST SATURDAY OF GAMES

The Counter Olympics Network (CON)[1] announces a march and rally in London’s East End on Saturday 28 July, assembling in Mile End Park (near Mile End tube station) at 12 noon, and marching to Victoria Park for a family friendly People’s Games for All which will include speeches, entertainment, “alternative games”, and children’s events.

Already more than 30 organisations officially support the event, with more coming on board all the time[2]. They include anti corporate campaigns, civil liberties groups, local trades councils, green groups, anti militarists, community groups, other anti Olympics campaigns, disability activists, and others. It will be an event which symbolically “reclaims” the Games, a party to which everyone is invited. It will present a truer and more optimistic vision of Britain than the officially promoted one of a militarised and austerity ridden country that is content to be hijacked by millionaire politicians and their corporate friends[3].

The Counter Olympics Network links people and organisations critical of some or many aspects of the 2012 Games. Issues of concern include:

  • the corporate takeover of the Games (with sponsors that profit from sweatshops, poison local people, pollute the planet, and so much more);
  • the eviction of local people from their homes and businesses to make way for the Olympic sites, and prioritising the interests of global corporations at the expense of small businesses;
  • the privatisation of public space;
  • the introduction of repressive policing and surveillance in conjunction with the Games, and the use of the Games to promote acceptance of the militarisation of society (in particular – siting missile launchers on domestic roofs in East London, employing 42,000 private security staff on top of the vast police and military presence, increasing stop and search powers which target and alienate local young people, placing warships on the Thames and at Weymouth, and introducing preventive detention and ASBOs to intimidate peaceful anti-Olympics protesters);
  • the threat to both the lives and livelihoods of Londoners caused by the VIP Lanes for dignitaries on London roads;
  • the encouragement of nationalism, in contradiction to the supposed spirit of the Olympics;
  • the sanctioning of gender apartheid in Olympic teams;
  • the “body fascism” mentality in elite sport;
  • the hypocrisy of a Paralympics sponsor, ATOS, which is also responsible for wrongly removing welfare payments from tens of thousands of people with disabilities;
  • the multi-billion-pound expenditure, much of it on temporary facilities, and most of it unnecessary at a time of supposed austerity.

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Filed under: CON press release, events


Whose Games? Whose City?

NO LIMOS! NO LOGOS! NO LAUNCHERS!


12 noon, Saturday 28 July
Assemble Mile End Park, East London.

March to Wennington Green for People's Games for All (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF FINAL DESTINATION)

A family-friendly protest. More details and press release

@counterOlympics twitter action

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‘Out damn logo!’ The Reclaim Shakespeare Company