Counter Olympic Network hold protest march through Mile End

A protest march through Tower Hamlets organised by the Counter Olympic Network (CON) attracted 500 people on Saturday.

The group marched from Mile End Park to Wennington Green, in reaction to what it describes as the “corporate takeover of London 2012”.

It incorporated several groups with grievances about the Games, including the extensive corporate sponsorship and the deployment of missiles on rooftops.

Before embarking on the march, CON member Albert Beale said: “There is a very substantial body of opinion which is unhappy with the Games, its connection with a number of very unsuitable corporations, and the refusal to properly consult with or to listen to local opinion.”

CON had previously been involved in a disagreement with Tower Hamlets council over their plans to close the protest with a rally at Wennington Green. However, organiser Julian Cheyne, of Tollet Street, Stepney Green, confirmed that there were no disputes with the council on the day.

“We stayed as long as we liked, there was a very good atmosphere and it made for a very good day out”, he said.

“We had some really good events and speeches, and it all made for a very friendly and happy day out.”

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Themes of the speeches included the deployment of missiles on rooftops in Bow, and the stringent policing of the Games, which opposition groups claim was illustrated by the arrest of particpants in the Critical Mass bike ride near the Olympic Park on Friday.

LOCOG emphasised that protesters should bear in mind the impact of their actions on the Games. A spokesperson said: “The Olympic Games is the biggest event in the world, and big events have always been a magnet for protests of all shapes and sizes; we have planned for this.

“We ask however any protesters to consider the impact of any action on the athletes, most of whom have spent half their lives preparing for London 2012. We are a sport loving nation, and marring sporting events is not the way anyone wants London 2012 to be remembered.”

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