5 April 2013News

Five of the 182 cyclists arrested at last July’s Critical Mass bike ride in east London (PN 2549) were convicted at Westminster magistrates’ court on 14 March. Only nine out of the 182 had been prosecuted; charges were dropped against three and one was found not guilty by district judge Elizabeth Roscoe.

The five who were convicted were found guilty of disobeying a section 12 order (conditions on public processions) under the public order act (1986).


26 September 2012Letter

Memories of the Olympic Games, 1948 and 2012.

What a fine piece by Virginia Moffatt (PN 2549) about the London Olympic Games. Most PN readers, I'd guess, had ambivalent feelings about the London Games – me included – but at heart they proved to be a celebration of 'The Family of Man' in all its forms.

I was a child during the 1948 games and followed them avidly on the wireless (radio).

In my memory the undoubted star was the Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen who won four gold medals and whose performance – unlike…

28 August 2012Feature

Pat Gaffney surveys faith groups' Olympic activism

‘The ideal of the Olympic Truce can itself be a sign that if it is possible to live without conflict for today, it might be possible to live without conflict tomorrow. But I need to invest in this peace, by laying down my own arms, and by joining hands with my neighbour, especially those I am most fearful and suspicious of.’ said Bishop Stephen Cottrell, speaking at a service in June at Chelmsford cathedral, welcoming the opportunity of peace-making through the Olympics.

This was one…

28 August 2012Feature

Peace campaigner Virginia Moffatt is (partially) seduced by the Olympics

Munich 1972. I am seven, enthralled by Korbut’s gymnastics, Spitz’s seven golds for swimming. This is the first time I’m old enough to get the Olympics. I am vaguely aware something bad has happened to some Israeli athletes, but too young to realise that politics and the Olympics go hand in hand.

Moscow 1980. I am 15, old enough to understand the US is asking us to join their boycott (because of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan) but young enough not to know what I think. I do…

2 July 2012Letter

The Olympic Shenanigans reminds me of an Olympic year in the 1970s when an alternative olympics was held one afternoon on Clapham Common in London.

Events included the Short Jump, (the winner of this event I recall successfully jumped over a human hair), the 100 yards (yes - yards in those days) metaphysical analysis in which contestants had to walk - slowly - 100 yards, thinking very deeply - the winner being decided not only on the slowness of the walk but by the quality of the…

2 July 2012Review

OR Books 2012; 140pp;£8

Today’s corporate Olympics is a far cry from the movement’s original vision of ‘a potent… factor in securing universal peace’. Perryman believes a better Games is possible, proposing a combination of decentralisation, ditching “rich men’s” sports, and banning commercial use of the Olympics symbol. Worth reading even if you hate sport.

2 July 2012Feature

Community legal observers – one response to the Olympic police operation

In the weeks before the London Olympics, a sense of foreboding 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, was heightened by the stories about snipers in helicopters, missile-launchers on tower blocks and RAF fighters in the skies and predictions that it might become almost impossible to…

3 May 2012Blog

Simon Moore, the first person to be served with an ASBO relating to the Oympics, was in court again today. 

Simon was served the Anti Social Behaviour Order after he was convicted for public order offences defending common land at Leyton Marsh against development for Olympic baseball courts.

The ASBO prohibits him from going within 100 yards of an Olympic venue or route, obstructing any Olympic participant - including officials and spectators, going onto any private land without permission of the owner, and from disrupting the Jubilee or Olympics events. (See more:…

27 April 2012News in Brief

Six Occupy activists were arrested at an Olympics occupation on 10 April. Occupy arrived at Porter’s Field, Leyton Marsh, on 24 March, to support locals trying to block the construction of Olympic practice basketball courts. Work on the site was suspended for two weeks because of the occupation.

After the high court granted the landowners, the Lea Valley regional park authority, an eviction order, bailiffs arrived at 7…

27 April 2012News in Brief

At the end of March, Christian peace groups Pax Christi and Westminster Justice and Peace wrote an open letter to the organising committee for the London Olympic games, expressing ‘some dismay’ at the central role allocated to the armed forces in the welcome and victory ceremonies at the Olympics, and suggesting a re-balancing of the event.

The groups are part of a Christian network promoting ‘The 100 Days of Peace’,…