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Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route

Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
01/25
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Protesters against closure of Lea Navigation towpath next to Olympic site walk past poster with anti- Olympic graffiti.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
02/25
Caption
Save Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath campaigns on Leyton Marsh at start of protest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
03/25
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Save Leyton Marsh banner and dog on Leyton Marsh at start of protest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
04/25
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Save Leyton Marsh and Open Out Towpath campaigns on Leyton Marsh begin protest march against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
05/25
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Protesters against closure of Lea Navigation towpath next to Olympic site walk past high cost Olympic moorings which local residents have been cleared from.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
06/25
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Barrier closing the stretch of the Lea Navigation outside the London Olympic games area to boats.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
07/25
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Save Leyton Marsh and Open Out Towpath campaigners walk under the motorway on the last few yards of the Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation still open to the public.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
08/25
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Open Our Towpath protesters shows the PCOs watching the protest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea the offical Olympic map from the web site and asks them to remove the 'illegal obstruction'.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
09/25
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Woman wearing 'Save Our Marsh' and 'Open the Path' on cloth strips on her back at Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath picnic against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
10/25
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Pinning the message 'Open the Path' to one of the protesters backs at the protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
11/25
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Protesters sit on the grass with barbed wire 5 ring t-shirts for sale at the protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
12/25
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Olympic security staff in a boat watch the Save Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath campaigns picnic against closure of the Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
13/25
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Pinning the message 'Open the Path' to one of the protesters backs at the protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
14/25
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Security men in a boat keep a close watch on the paddling pools at the protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
15/25
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Bicycles parked against security fence during Save Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath campaigns' protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
16/25
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Barrier on the Lea Navigation towpath next to the Olympic site closing it to the public with notice, security men and cabin.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
17/25
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The barrier and closed Olympic cycle route beside the site next to the tall electrified fence and beside the Lea Navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
18/25
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Cyclists from Save Leyton Marsh and Open Out Towpath campaign read the notice closing the Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigraion next to the Olympic site.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
19/25
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A few of the many groups of cyclists and walkers who were stopped at the barrier during the Save Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath protest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
20/25
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Cyclists from Save Leyton Marsh campaign hold up pictures from Leyton Marsh at the barrier closing the Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigraion next to the Olympic site.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
21/25
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Save Leyton Marsh campaigns atprotest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation with message '20K? No Way. We Won't Pay the ODA' over the high legal costs the ODA claim over their court challenge.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
22/25
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Inflating paddling pools at the protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
23/25
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Getting food ready at the picnic by Save Leyton Marsh and Open Our Towpath campaigns in protest against closure of Olympic cycle route beside the Lea Navigation.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
24/25
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Security men in a boat keep a close watch on the Save Leyton Marsh and Open Out Towpath campaigns' protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
25/25
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Man plays saxaphone Save Leyton Marsh and Open Out Towpath campaigns' protest against closure of the Olympic cycle route along the Lea Navigation towpath.
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route
  • Cyclists protest the closure of the Olympic Towpath Cycle Route

East Londoners protested the closure of the Lea Navigation tow-path alongside the Olympic site, a vital safe cycle route across the area as well as a recreational footpath, marching to the closure site and holding a picnic there.

A vital part of London's Olympic bid was the promise that this would be the greenest Olympics ever, and it is a promise the London games have failed to live up to on every level. They failed to realise the opportunity of the allotments on the site, closing them down; they failed to use the canal system to remove waste and bring in materials; canal transport to the games will be a horrendously expensive largely corporate jolly rather than a genuine water bus service, and while they promoted the idea of people cycling to the games, instead they have closed the two major cycle routes in the area, which were also widely used by walkers.

The Greenway, used by many to travel to work as a short and direct route from Hackney Wick to Stratford closed in May, and will at least be used by those attending the games. As it passes between the stadium and the warm up arena, keeping it open as a through route during the actual event would not have been possible, although it is impossible to justify closing it over two months in advance.

Another key route for cyclists is the Lea Navigation tow-path, and there had been an undertaking to keep that open during the games, with a 10 ft high electrified fence having been erected between it and the Olympic site, bristling with security cameras.

Ten days ago this too was closed, and it is not expected to be reopened before September 12th. Alternative routes are roughly 50% longer and include cycling on some busy roads, ending at the notorious Bow Flyover roundabout where two cyclists have recently been killed.

The 'Open Our Towpath' campaign point out that the Olympic games web site still shows the tow-path as a route for cyclists, and say that the closure is illegal, and ask for the path to be returned to public use. Today the held the third weekly protest against the closure, meeting together with member of the Save Leyton Marsh Campaign next to the 'temporary' basketball practice site erected on Leyton Marsh, and walking from their down the tow-path to the closure a few yards south of the Eastway Bridge over the navigation.

There they set up a barbecue and held a protest picnic, having failed to persuade the security men on duty at the gate to let them through or the two PCSO's present to take action against what they allege is an illegal blockage of the right of way.

Although the protest was not a huge one, in the couple of hours I was there, literally hundreds of cyclists on their own or in small groups arrived at the fence, expecting to be able to cycle along the tow-path. Some saw the notice and barrier and simply turned away immediately, others stopped to read the notice and some to try asking the security men why the tow-path was closed. Many of them expressed their frustration at the closure and others asked the protesters for help in finding a route avoiding the closed path.

The Lea Navigation is also closed, and the narrow boats normally moored just above here have all been forced to move. The moorings have been made available for the Olympic period at extremely high rents, and there were a few flag bedecked boats moored there as we passed. Just above the Eastway bridge there is a yellow barrier strung across the waterway to block the area to boats, although the water bus service (£95 VIP return, £45 normal return) will apparently make its way past. The protesters as well as a barbecue and large awning had also brought along 3 inflatable paddling pools which they could have used as primitive craft on the canal, but as they began to blow them up a small security boat with two men on board appeared ready to repel any nautical invasion.

A police van had come to Leyton Marsh for the start of the protest, and as well as the two PCSOs who stood watching over the picnic for an hour or two, there seemed to be no shortage of security men hanging around this end of the site, with several groups seemingly totally unemployed behind the prison-like wire fence as well as the two on the boat and five behind the flimsy fencing across the tow-path. At one point several police also turned up an peered at the picnickers through the fence for a few minutes.

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