the trial begins today of 9 cyclists who were among the 182 arrested on the opening night of the olympics after draconian public order conditions were applied against the customary critical mass cycle ride that takes place at the end of every month
around 20 supporters showed up in the bitter cold outside the westminster magistrates court this morning for the opening day of the trial of the nine cyclists.
charges under section 12 of the public order act relate to wide-ranging conditions imposed by police that night that banned cyclists from travelling anywhere together north of the river thames.
arguments in court are likely to centre around whether the police had a reasonable cause to impose any conditions in the first place, then whether the conditions imposed were sufficiently proportionate and limited as necessary under the human rights act, then whether the accused were properly informed of those conditions, and finally whether the cyclists can be proven to have broken those conditions without lawful excuse.
it seems that the police are lying right from the start by claiming that the critical mass was suddenly overflowing with activists hell-bent on disrupting the olympic ceremony. they have a publicly-viewable page at http://content.met.police.uk/News/182-people-arrested-in-protest/1400010375724/1257246745756 which claims that the critical mass normally numbers around 100 cyclists, but that on this occasion 400-500 turned up.
i’ve been writing occasional reports and attending the rides for years, and can confirm that numbers only dwindle to around 100 in the cold winter months, with far greater numbers taking part during the summer, normally several hundred.
last friday, even with temperatures around zero, on the february ride there were 132, so the police claim is fanciful and probably a deliberate falsehood.
there’s a report on the olympic mass at http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12612
i’m unable to report from the court as i may be called as a potential witness, but there may be updates on the CM9 wordpress site at http://justicecm9.wordpress.com/
the case is set to last 5-7 days.
the court is of course public and supporters are welcomed in the public gallery.