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The CM182 defence meeting

A report from the CON-initiated meeting to help establish a defence campaign for the Critical Mass 182

As reported before, the police – in a fit of Olympics-induced hysteria – arrested 182 cyclists on the regular monthly Critical Mass bike ride on 27 July. So the Counter Olympics Network initiated a meeting – which took place last Thursday evening – to help establish a defence campaign, in liaison with Green and Black Cross.

Around 100 people turned up, including many of the arrestees that Green and Black Cross (GBC) had already made contact with, as did – and this was an especially valuable aspect of the meeting – some of the 182 who weren’t already in touch with GBC. (GBC have taken on defence co-ordination, at least to the extent of trying to trace people, getting them in touch with one another, and linking them up with appropriate lawyers.)

There were also people at the meeting from 3 different legal firms who’ve taken on some of the 182 [though there’s at least one more firm involved too], together with other Critical Massers, CON people, and others – including a few from groups that work on issues of activist support, the right to protest, etc (though if was acknowledged that CM rides aren’t generally considered to be protests as such).

There was an introduction to the legal issues surrounding the police’s purported use of the Public Order Act, and discussions of related issues – including news of a successful challenge to the bail conditions by one arrestee already. The solicitors at the meeting are all currently giving advice on these cases free, and will continue to do so at least up to and including any further challenges to bail conditions – such challenges being generally thought to be a good idea.

There was discussion of the possible roles of a defence campaign, and of its importance in terms of other CMers not arrested last time, as well as in terms of its wider political and policing significance. But there was agreement that launching a more general defence campaign would be kept on hold pending an arrestees-only [plus GBC] meeting, which is being organised by GBC any day now – since any campaign around the arrests needs to be done with the views and interests of those arrested having priority.

The most important thing we can all do right now (apart from generally making a fuss about the police behaviour in any forums open to us, and of course ensuring that the turn-out on the August CM ride is absolutely massive) is to spread the word in any direction which might reach arrestees, since some are still not in touch with the main bulk of others from the 182.

So please push this message out:
If you were one of the 182 cyclists arrested on 27 July, and aren’t already in touch with GBC, then e-mail gbclegal@riseup.net as a matter of urgency.

 

Filed under: policing, policing & civil liberties, transport

Defence campaign for the Critical Mass 182

A meeting to help establish a defence campaign for the Critical Mass 182 – Thursday 9 August

Most people will know about Critical Mass bike rides, and about what happened in London last month. If you don’t know: read the next two paragraphs. If you do: skip this next section!

[Critical Mass is an international phenomenon. In London, these rides have been taking place every single month for 18 years; cyclists meet at the same time (6-6.30pm) and place (on the South Bank, under the south end of Waterloo Bridge) on the last Friday of the month. CM is hard to define: the rides aren’t really a protest, perhaps they’re more a celebration of cycling, and an assertion of the right of cyclists to move freely and safely around London. There’s no structure; no-one is in control; routes and destinations aren’t planned in advance; anyone turning up on a bike is an equal part of CM. Rides are generally peaceful and self-regulating. The police have mostly ignored the rides in recent times.

But on the last ride, on 27 July – which attracted a typical summer crowd of many hundreds of the usual cross-section of cyclists – large numbers of police turned up in a spirit of Olympic hysteria. Some of the police busied themselves giving pieces of paper to some (but far from all) of the cyclists present. The paper purported to ban the cyclists from going anywhere north of the river. Most of the cyclists eventually did cross the river, however, and many hundreds of them went via Stratford on their travels. A lot of cyclists from one of the batches that went to Stratford were rounded up by police there (as were some cyclists who happened to be in the area and had nothing whatsoever to do with Critical Mass). Including a handful of arrests of cyclists elsewhere, a grand total of 182 cyclists ended up in custody that night. There are some reports at the (unofficial – of course! – since Critical Mass has nothing “official”, by definition) CM site. Now read on…]

Supporting the CM 182

At a meeting of Counter Olympics Network organisers on Wednesday, the 182 CM arrests were naturally a cause of concern. It was noted that, amongst the many issues underlying CON, there has always been awareness that police might use the excuse or the context of the Olympics to try some heavy-handed policing. What happened to Critical Mass seemed a prime example of this fear being realised.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: events, policing, policing & civil liberties, transport

Olympic Laws – A Short Guide For Trouble Makers

From Random Blowe

A number of people have asked me to clarify what impact Olympic-specific legislation may have on local people and anyone promoting protests or making political statements during this summer’s Games. Here is a short guide.

Olympic Laws

There are two relevant Acts of Parliament – The Olympic Symbol Etc (Protection) Act 1995 (the “1995 Act”) and The London Olympic Games And Paralympic Games Act 2006 (the “2006 Act”). Both are primarily concerned with providing special protection for Olympic brands, sponsors and copyright holders, over and above existing copyright or contract law.

The 1995 Act created an ‘Olympic Association Right’ that may be infringed when the five-rings symbol, the Games’ mottoes and the word Olympic, Olympian or similar words are used without authorisation in the course of trade. The 2006 Act created a new ‘London Olympic Association Right’ giving LOCOG the power to prevent unauthorised associations with the Games. It also created “Listed Expressions” in the form of two lists, A and B. List A contains the words Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012 and Twenty Twelve. List B contains the words London, Medals, Sponsor, Gold, Silver and Bronze (and even the word “Summer”). Use of any two words in list A or any word in list A with one or more of the words in list B is not permitted..

This means even references to London as ‘Olympic Host City’ in any advert could be an infringement, so local traders will need to tread very carefully if they want to avoid breaking incredibly restrictive laws. For example, the advert on the right, which I photographed recently in the window of a shop in Newham, is almost certainly a very bad idea and it is also worth mentioning that infringements are criminal offences, not civil grievances. The maximum fine is £20,000.

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Filed under: policing & civil liberties

Welcome To The Security Games

With weeks to go before the start of this summer’s London Olympics, a sense of foreboding has descended on many of the people who, like me, live and work in Newham in east London, one of the poorest and most ethnically diverse parts of the capital. This anxiety, shared even by those who are enthusiastic about the spectacle of the Games, has been raised by the stories over the last six months about snipers in helicopters, missile launchers on tower blocks and RAF fighters in the skies during the Olympics and repeated predictions that it may be almost impossible to leave the borough during peak periods. People speak of feeling trapped by the arrival of an event that seems more like an invading army of occupation than a welcome visitor.

Welcome to the Security Games. This summer sees the largest peacetime military and security operation since 1945, with a budget that has soared to around £1 billion. Since 2010, the number of security personnel required by Olympic organisers has risen sharply to an overall estimated 23700 on the busiest days, more than double the original predictions. As well as up to 12000 police from forces across the country, the Ministry of Defence has provided more troops deployed (in uniform) to work during the Games than are currently stationed in Afghanistan. More CCTV has been installed in a part of London already awash with cameras and around £80 million has been spent on the construction of an an 11-mile long 5000-volt electric fence around the Olympic zone. One of the chief beneficiaries of the huge level of spending is the global private security corporation G4S, which has seen enormous expansion of its contract for providing security guards, from £86 million in December 2010 to £284 million in December 2011. The reality is that, like everything else to do with the Olympics, costs remain obscured by a lack of transparency and may be far higher.

Read the full article on Random Blowe

Filed under: militarisation, policing & civil liberties

London 2012: one big party or one big prison?

By Mike Wells
Security precautions for London 2012 include the construction of a 17.5 km, 5,000volt electric fence, topped with 900 daylight and night vision surveillance cameras spaced at 50 metre intervals. On first sight of the fence you could be forgiven for thinking you had slipped through a wormhole in the space-time continuum to find yourself on the perimeter of a Soviet era Gulag.

Read the article on Games Monitor

Filed under: militarisation, policing & civil liberties

Olympics Brand Exclusion Zone

advertising restriction zone around Olympic Park

In graphic design, an ‘exclusion zone’ is an area around a logo which must be left clear. Corporate brand and logo usage guidelines demonstrate the proportion of vertical and horizontal space around a logo into which no other element can intrude.

In urban design, exclusion zones are becoming commonplace in relation to sponsorship of sporting events. The Brand Exclusion Zone is the newest form of urban demarcation, and can be used not only to affect signage and advertising, but also restrict personal freedom of choice. Within this context, the London 2012 Olympics represents one of the most radical restructuring of the rights of the city in London. The ‘canvas’ of London will belong exclusively to the Olympic marquee brands.

In essence, London has abdicated all rights and responsibilities to the International Olympic Committee, and implemented legislation which creates radical new spatial demarcations not only within the Olympic Park, but because of the distributed nature of the Olympic venues, across the whole of central London. London has surrendered the traditional rights to the city to the demands of the Olympic ‘family’ and their corporate paymasters. What the IOC want, London will give. London will be on brand lockdown.

Read the full article on the kosmograd blog

Filed under: corporate gain, policing & civil liberties


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

London Takes Gold

A struggle to survive: dedicated to Leyton Marsh

LONDON OLYMPICS Lost Opportunities

Olympics: This Is Not A War Zone

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From the Anti-Olympics poster competition!

Don’t Buy It, by Regime

‘Out damn logo!’ The Reclaim Shakespeare Company