London Cabbies banned from Olympic protest

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on July 27, 2012

London cab drivers, who were organising a strike to protest against being banned from using the Olympic traffic lanes, have been banned from protesting by police. The taxi drivers were due to stage a demonstration in London’s Hyde Park today but have been banned from protesting along the entire Olympic route by the Metropolitan Police.

The taxi drivers claim they should be allowed to use official Olympic traffic lanes that have been reserved for athletes and VIPs. Although Transport for London is allowing the iconic black cabs to pick up fares from some lanes, they must complete the rest of their journey with the normal traffic.

The drivers’ union has already held two high-profile protests in the capital, one at Tower Bridge, when a protester dived into the Thames, and another outside the Houses of Parliament. However, the taxi drivers have now been banned from gathering along the Olympic routes between 16:00 and 3:00 and cannot drive north of the Thames overnight.

Rail Maritime and Transport union general secretary Bob Crow is calling on the London Games Committee to allow cabbies access to the routes, even at this late stage on the day of the opening ceremony.  He said the images of London’s black cabs is one of the reasons that the city won the Olympic bid in the first place, adding that such an important part of the transport system should be allowed to use the lanes.

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