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.
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 across London for 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 the School of Oriental and 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 forLondon.’
The march is taking place under the slogans ‘Whose Games? Whose City? No Limos! No Logos! No Launchers! Demonstrate Against the Corporate Olympics’.
It has been called by the Counter Olympics Network and is supported by the following organisations, representing a wide range of critical perspectives:
ALARM, Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Sponsorship, Badhoc, BARAC, Blacklist Support Group, Bread and Circuses, Brent Trades Council, Coalition of Resistance, Counterfire, Defend the Right to Protest, Disabled People Against Cuts, Drop Dow Now, East London Against Arms Fairs, Games Monitor, G4S Campaign, Grunts for the Arts, Hackney Green Party, Hackney Trades Council, Hackney Woodcraft Folk, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Haringey Trades Council, Islington Hands Off Our Public Services, Islington Trades Council, Jewish Socialist Group, Lewisham People Not Profit, Lewisham Stop the War, Lewisham Trades Council, London Green Party, London Mining Network, Netpol, No Games Chicago, Occupy London, Our Olympics, Partizans, People & Planet, Save Leyton Marsh Campaign, Space Hijackers, Stop the Olympic Missiles, Thurrock Hecklers, UK Tar Sands Network, Waltham Forest Trades Council, War on Want, Youth Fight for Jobs, and more.
Julian Cheyne (from 1pm onwards): firstname.lastname@example.org, 020-3560 4064, 07988 401216.
Albert Beale: email@example.com, 020-7278 4474.
For further background on CON, the issues raised by the Olympics, and the demonstration, see previous press release and other info at: