Khan-ival – anti-ULEZ campaigners set up on Tooting Bec Common
What better way to celebrate a month of dodging the ULEZ charges than with a well placed Khan-ival. What we needed was a well earned weekend break, coming together to support the campaigners, sharing stories and discussing hardships with some quiet protesting thrown in. What better place to do this than somewhere close to the source of our dismay.
The perfect spot for the impromptu but very well organised event was a corner of Tooting Bec Common, not far from Sadiq Khan’s house. All our favourite anti-ULEZ vehicles rocked up at 8am on Saturday 30th and set up gazebos, a barbeque and two portaloos. There was also a tented Gazebo for the #fight2survive 48hr hunger strike lead by Prabdheep Singh, where he was joined by four others who had to sit there with great self control whilst one brave soul took on the mammoth task of feeding everyone – a task to which she excelled.
The support we got from all the passing traffic was incredible, so many people stopped to take leaflets, shout a few words of encouragement and even a few passers by stayed to hold a placard and get to know us. In fact there were very few complaints as we were respectful and the only noise was the beeps and hoots from the cars. There was a local councillor who didn’t like her quiet corner of the common being spoilt by the constituents support, but she didn’t bother to engage, just took to twitter to complain and make assumptions. That says a lot about her.
The idea was to spend the whole weekend at the common and many people did just that, bedding down overnight in the gazebo or a tent and woke the next day to support the hunger strikers and share there meal as they broke the fast. The space was left immaculately clean – and the toilets removed as soon as possible.
Fun blocking the ULEZ Camera Vans
The latest protest in the anti-ULEZ campaign has taken on a life of its own. The ULEZ Mobile Van Locations Facebook group has grown and these vans have become something of an attraction. It just takes one or two people to position themselves in front of the camera with a well placed, and sometime hastily prepared, sign, let the group know, and before long there are any number of people willing to join them. The blocking has become more and more creative, tipper trucks, a camper van roof, a broken down car with it’s bonnet up. By far the most popular at the moment is the ULEZ dinosaur – or ULEZsaurus who first made an appearance in Wallington and has spread around London, but people have used whatever mask or costume they can get their hands on, such as the Grinch or La La – who first made an appearance at the early Trafalgar Square protest and is the anti-ULEZ events page mascot!
The joy of these mini protests with a purpose is that they are fun, a good way of meeting like minded people and so many others are being made aware of the madness of TFL. They send out a van with a driver and a personal protection agent along with a second car. The driver leaves in the car and the protection officer isn’t allowed to drive, he can only guard the van. The drivers and camera operatives are subversive and cover their faces in shame, the protection officers not so much, they are almost celebrities in their own right. This isn’t going to stop though as we find more inventive ways to keep blocking. You can follow the antics of the van blockers on tiktok here @matthardybladerunner Van blockers gonna block!