London police used pepper spray and kettling tactics against “Critical Mass” cycle ride participants as the British capital held the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games. At least 50 people have reportedly been detained.
Scuffles occurred near the Olympic Stadium on the outskirts of the Olympic Park, with participants saying they were being “kettled” or corralled. Some witnesses said police pushed the cyclists aside to get David Beckham through traffic.
A witness video uploaded to YouTube allegedly showed police assaulting and pepper-spraying a disabled man on a tricycle.
The frantaag user who uploaded a similar video has written this account: “In the early stages of the Monthly Critical mass Bike ride a British Transport Police Officer PepperSprayed a Disabled Man in a shoprider who had been apparently hit by a car along with several others [sic].”
The user added that a female police medic attempted to stop the action, but was struck back and the officer sprayed the disabled man and most the crowd. He then whipped out his telescopic truncheon and tried to apply a neck lock on the disabled man using the truncheon.
The disabled man has been arrested. The British Transport Cop was finally led away by some other officers.
“A number of people in breach of regulations imposed on a monthly cycling event have been arrested,”a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.
However there are conflicting reports on the numbers of those arrested. According to some, at least 50 people have been detained and their bicycles loaded on to special buses parked nearby. Others say more than 100 people have been arrested.
The cyclists were members of a monthly cycling event called “Critical Mass”, held on the last Friday of every month all around the world. The ride participants usually meet at a set location and time, and travel as a group through city or town streets on bikes.
But a police order had prohibited the London group from traveling into the Olympic Park area in the east of the capital during Friday night’s opening ceremony.
The police released a statement in which they said the conditions imposed on the ride had been put in place “toprevent serious disruption to the community and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.”
Earlier there were reportedly calls on the internet to stage the London ride on July 27 as an anti-Olympics protest.
The Metropolitan Police said they had made arrests for Public Order offences.