Last night, as the Olympic Games Opening ceremony began, police arrested over 130 cyclists for cycling near Stratford. The cyclists were part of Critical Mass – a group who do regular cycle rides through London on the last Friday of the month and have done so for years.
The riders were stopped, kettled and arrested under Section 12 of the Public Order Act. Some arrests were extremely violent. British Transport Police officer 4125 was filmed by multiple sources hitting both a male and female cyclist. When a disabled man tried to stop him, the disabled man was reportedly sprayed with either CS or pepperspray. A police medic is seen also hitting crowds.
It is thought that the police clamped down so hard because they viewed the bike ride as a demonstration, though as long ago as 2008 the house of Lords rejected the police’s attempts to outlaw the event unless they were notified of the route in advance.
Photos and footage have emerged of London buses full of confiscated bicycles, and those arrested were released with Olympics-specific bail conditions.