182 people arrested in protest

29 July 2012

New Scotland Yard

Police have urged anyone who wants to protest to come and speak to us so we can work together to ensure that their point can be made.

182 people were arrested on Friday, 27 July on suspicion of breaching conditions imposed on a cycle protest under section 12 of the Public Order Act, and causing a public nuisance.

Four have been charged with various offences. 178 have been bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers were aware that a monthly cycle procession was due to take place on 27 July and made several attempts to engage with riders to discuss their plans. The procession usually attracts approximately 100 cyclists, but on this occasion around 400 to 500 people gathered near Waterloo at approximately 18:00hrs. Officers believe this may have included other individuals or groups not normally part of the monthly procession.

As the procession had the potential to cause serious disruption to the life of the community, the MPS applied conditions under section 12 of the Public Order Act. The participants in the procession were informed of these conditions.

The conditions that applied to the procession were:

- The procession was not to commence before 18:00hrs on Friday 27 July and end no later than 03:00hrs on Saturday 28 July;

- Participants must not enter any part of the Olympic Route Network (ORN);

- Participants must remain south of the River Thames at all times during the times stated;

- Participants must keep moving on the procession route unless stopped or directed by police, or due to traffic signals.

The participants moved off from approximately 18:30hrs and from the outset they attempted to cross the Thames, despite attempts by officers to prevent them. Officers also made several attempts to remind the participants of the conditions under section 12 which were in place and that breaches of them may result in arrest. They did this using loud hailers and leaflets to explain the conditions and the consequences of any breaches.

The procession split into smaller groups and some of them crossed to the north of the river. They travelled to the Stratford area, where there were large numbers of people and vehicles due to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Cyclists continued to ride around the ORN despite numerous warnings and officers took action to detain the cyclists and a number were arrested for breach of section 12 of the Public Order Act.

Our position on protest is clear: people have a right to protest and it is an incredibly important part of our democracy. We want anyone who wants to protest to come and speak to us so we can work together to ensure that their point can be made.

What people do not have the right to do is to hold a protest that stops other people from exercising their own rights to go about their business - that means athletes who have trained for years for their chance in a lifetime to compete, millions of ticket holders from seeing the world's greatest sporting event, and everyone else in London who wants to get around.