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Mass Arrest (masser) | 28.07.2012 02:55 | London

Between thirty and fifty people were arrested today en-masse as a result of their participation in the traditional monthly critical mass.

The helicopter was already tracing circles above Waterloo Bridge at 6.30pm. The mass left the meeting point earlier than the usual 7.30pm. A van with police inside was emitting some unintelligible words and there were police on bikes, too, something unseen in years now, even since the House of Lords decided that the mass was indeed not a protest.

Some people crossed Blackfriars Bridge, some others Southwark Bridge. London Bridge was blocked by police to traffic when the Critical Mass arrived there. A police officer said to all there: “Guess what's waiting for you on Tower Bridge!” There were some scuffles and what looked like an arrest. A small portion of the mass sneaked through the line on the pavement, which was then joined by the rest in the City.

The mass then proceeded without major incidents until Rick Roberts Way. All riders that had reached thispoint were kettled under section 12 of the "Public Order Act", for disobeying the order apparently given by police to stay South of the river, and about an hour later, arrested, taken to a police station in Central London in a bus hired by police, and have their bikes put on another bus. (masser)
- Original article on IMC London:


Hide the following 4 comments


28.07.2012 07:53

260 arrests in total


The anti-Olympic demonstration today will surely be attacked

28.07.2012 09:06

This is just the start of the Olympic crackdown on dissent. There huge anti-Olmypic demonstration today in Mile End will most surely be attacked by the forces of the state! Everyone who is going there be very careful. The state will be looking for any excuse to brutally attack this demo. Get down to Mile End by 1pm when the demonstration starts, the more people who go the easier it will be to defend it.

Anti-Olympic activist


29.07.2012 12:23

There was no intention to have anything to do with the Olympics. When everyone arrived at the assembly place it was swarming with police. This was the first point of communication with them.

The police wished to use an illegal order to 'ban the ride'. The 2008 Law Lords decision defined CM as a legal rabble, a customary procession without organisers or route and legal as such. It was agreed as legal as part of the community life of London.

The police were using section 12 (3) of the Public Order Act to say that there would be a disruption to 'the community'. Which community - the Olympic community? This notice was written as served to 'the organisers' and agreed with them. That was fantasy. There are no organisers. Nor could there be - because the route is decided at each crossroads.

The nature of CM is that if a large enough group of people attend with a particular interest then they can have some influence on direction. There was no reasonable belief that this would occur. Although the CON and Occupy Movement had asked their supporters to attend we have to ask if they would have had any influence? No probably not. They don't really have many active supporters.

Critical Mass is written up in Time Out as a "fun, friendly bike ride". So we had hundreds of tourists there who did not understand what was going on. The majority of the cyclists are party people and exhibitionists without any political motive. The failure of the police to communicate means that many tourists were caught up in the kettle. It was kafkaesque. The police were picking sightseers on bicycle away from foot tourists and arresting them.

The effect of the 'ban' is that everyone on cycles simply had to find a way home over the river. There are only 5 or so bridges, so the cyclists broke up in order to do that.

Within the numbers a minority of people were outraged by the decision of the police to illegally outlaw a peaceful assembly. These people thought it a game to get to Stratford Bus Station. If you watch the video on YouTube by RubbishRider you can see they did so, rang their bells, didn't disrupt anything and went home.

The policing here was terrible. Unfortunately, the nature of Critical Mass is that it is hard to explain. The police have done a good job of fantastical thinking in creating their response to Critical Mass. There was no communication to enthusiast on fan sites, all we had was the sense of foreboding. The CON talked with the police in a passing way - but how could they associate CM with CON?

They seemed to want to be able to say that there was intelligence that CM would disrupt the Olympics. This is completely bogus. One posting appeared on Indymedia suggesting opposition to the Olympics. And was shot down by a dozen respondents. If anything, the intelligence suggested the mass would ignore the Olympics.

The police actions were moronic. They transformed a peaceful bike ride into a protest. The police illegally banned a lawful assembly and forced the arms of a group of Londoners into defending the very rights to assembly.

I'm proud of the way people responded. It was an instinctive and beautiful response to defend freedom. It was done in a very lighthearted way. It was absurd.

We were manipulated. It wasn't necessary. It was abusive. Of course, if you read the police report which is the basis for most news articles then you will not hear this opinion.

Carlos X

Common Knowledge

29.07.2012 20:57

Carlos X, dude. It was common knowledge that July's Mass would try to take the Olympic lanes. Not because anyone organised this or spread this rumour but because it was such an obvious thing to do with the Olympics Opening Ceremony being on the same night that people just turned up because.

That's also why it was more folks than normal and that's why even though the police had banned it from North of the River, when the Mass started the ride immediately everyone went up on Waterloo Bridge to go over the river and continued to try and find a way North.

Maybe you might like to reconsider your comment that the 'majority of the cyclists are party people and exhibitionists without any political motive'. Didn't look like this last Friday night.

The policing was the usual terrible policing of the Mass we have come to expect.