Friday: the day of police crackdown.

I was tempted to join in with Critical Mass last Friday, as I knew I'd be in Waterloo at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, my wheels got stolen that very morning. The hoardes of bikes outside the NFT felt like they were taunting me, sticking around a little longer than they should. Now I realise I'm not paranoid:

It says:

Critical Mass Cycle Demonstrations

Organisers of public processions are required by law to notify police at least 6 days before the event occurs of the date, time, proposed route and name and address of an organiser. Failure to do so makes the event unlawful.

Demonstrations within a designated area around Parliament must also be notified, and anyone taking part in an unauthorised demonstration commits an offence.

Police can impose conditions on processions, demonstrations and other assemblies, and participants render themselves liable to arrest if they fail to comply with those conditions.

These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution. Police policy in facilitating these events is currently under review.

If you intend to organise a future similar event please refer to the Metropolitan Police website, www.met.police.uk for details. It is preferable for all parties if a lawful event can be safely facilitated, rather than the Police having to enforce legislation.

Superintendent Gomm,
New Scotland Yard

So, no Critical Mass for anybody until October 28th.

The ambiguities of Gomm's words are stifling. What exactly is the designated area around Parliament? Problems: CM is not a protest, and is not organised by a singular body, per se. The Larger implications this letter has for any relatively spontaneous group activity (involving bikes or no - see the pushbike architecture treasure hunt below) let alone established, notionally inherited traditions such as CM, is quite terrifying.

Maybe they're just in need of a hot date. I checked out the Public Order Branch of the Met's website, and they've only got one event scheduled for the whole of October. And the details they refer to above, are a set of phone numbers.

Back to Friday: and interestingly, the police then proceeded to foil another of my night's plans. Grr.


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