Counter Olympic Network start legal action against Tower Hamlets council over London 2012 protest

London 2012 protest group Counter Olympic Network (CON) have commenced legal proceedings against Tower Hamlets council for its refusal to allow them to protest at Wennington Green on Saturday.

The group was informed on July 18 that Tower Hamlets had refused them permission to end their march with a rally at the park, despite them receiving permission to demonstrate by the police.

In response to the council’s decision, CON served them with papers on Monday in an attempt to salvage their plans for Saturday’s protest.

Albert Beale, a member of CON, 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 over decisions like the placing of missiles on residential buildings in the East End.

“All protests end with speeches and in this instance CON intends to hold a family friendly closing event which Tower Hamlets should welcome. Instead it chooses to place obstacles in our way. CON will continue to insist on its right to protest and to use a public park for that purpose.”

Tower Hamlets council claim the decision is due to the fact that they received an inadequate amount of notice. However, CON claim they alerted the council to their plans on June 11, more than six weeks ago. By law, protesters need only provide the police with six days notice prior to a demonstration.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, confirmed that some of her constituents had been in contact with concerns about the impact of the Games on their lives, but emphasised that the decision should be left to the council.

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She said: “I am a big supporter of the Olympics, but there are legitimate concerns that residents have about their ability to get on with their daily lives. What I urge the council to do is discuss these issues with those who want to demonstrate.

“If people want to have a peaceful demonstration the council needs to look closely and make sure there’s a proper balance between ensuring the Olympics are a great success and peoples’ right to demonstrate peacefully.”

The group has given Tower Hamlets council until Wednesday to respond, and will otherwise commence a judicial review case through the High Court.