On 27 July, the Metropolitan police attempted to keep the monthly Critical Mass cycle ride out of east London, where the Olympics opening ceremony was taking place. The police deemed the ride a ‘public procession’ and invoked section 12 of the Public Order Act, allowing them to put conditions on where the ride could go.
The police then forcibly stopped the riders crossing Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges. Some riders managed to get to Stratford High Street where police ‘kettled’ and arrested 182 of them, including a 13-year old. A disabled man on a tricycle was reportedly pepper-sprayed. The police also impounded the bicycles.
After being held for many hours, only four cyclists were charged (for various offences), while the remaining 178 were bailed ‘pending further enquiries’. Bail conditions included: not entering the borough of Newham on a bicycle, and not entering nor going within 100 metres of an Olympic venue.
The following day, the Counter Olympics Network held a public rally on Wennington Green, ending with a 500-strong ‘March for the People’s Olympics’, even though Tower Hamlets council had refused permission for this use of the green.