So here we are into September and with ULEZ coming in to force on the 29th August, the date was marked with a big Anti-ULEZ Death to Democracy protest outside Downing Street. This started with a procession carrying the Democracy coffin, and did feel quite sombre and funerial as it marked a day of death to many of our cars and death to many freedoms.
Once at the gates of 10 Downing Street, the protest got louder and livelier as they often do, and got busier. There was a lot of press coverage and a lot of police presence, which is expected in London and usually friendly and low key, however an hour or two later they cleared the entrance and refused to let anyone cross which seemed a bit excessive to some. There was one small incident as one protester crossed the entrance, a minor scuffle as described by The Mail, leading to a slight over reaction as three police officers jumped on him knocking a couple of bystanders to the ground, causing one elderly lady to require the attention of an ambulance, however thankfully no serious injuries were received and no major treatment required. This was unusual reaction from the Police who have been supportive of our cause since the start. I think the reason for clearing the entrance was, and we did speculate, the return of perhaps Rishi Sunak or other important Downing Street regular, as later two blacked out cars drove in creating an opportunity for lots of focus shouting, hope they enjoyed the view from behind those tinted windows!
This protest was well attended and we were joined by many prominent anti ULEZ supporters such as Howard Cox, Alan Miller, Nigel Farage, Richard Tice, Councillor Colin Smith from Bromley, Prabhdeep Singh, the Uxbridge hunger striker (fight2survive) along with regular reporters such as Brown Car Guy, Phil Ade and ActualCoverage
The news coverage was quite impressive for a change as it was ULEZ day itself. We made the front page of The Telegraph and The Mail with inside spreads too – never going to forgive the Evening Standard for their front page stating London’s Green Dream – I think they mean Sadiq’s Green Dream and the only green he cares about is the money. I think it really misses the feeling of anger that so many people around London have about the ULEZ expansion. There was coverage from reporters around the world as news of the campaign to Stop-ULEZ is spreading worldwide.
The Bank Holiday Weekend also saw a huge increase in ULEZ cameras being “decommissioned” in a number of creative ways, they were painted, sprayed with foam, covered with bags and tape, stickered, had their wires cut or were cut free completely. Cameras installed on poles were sawn in half and images abound of those that had been fallen like trees – quite a sight. Even Ian Duncan Smith came out in sympathy and the Julie’s Map team were working as fast as they could to keep up. It appears that the South and South East of London have the most active bladerunners – come on northerners- keep up with your southern rebels! Criminal damage is not condoned, but there is a creeping admiration amongst even the most mild mannered of us for those prepared to risk their liberty for our freedom, for that is how they are viewed for now – as freedom fighters
Along with the events of 29th, we have had further evidence of scientific misdeeds relating to ULEZ reports as it appears that Dr Gary Fuller, the only scientist who independently peer reviewed the report to support the ULEZ expansion was in fact part of the Environmental Research Group being paid some £800,000 to produce the reports, hardly independent, something has gone badly wrong with the system of impartiality within the scientific community. This is not over and needs further robust investigation.
The fight is not over though – next we take the protest to Parliament – Wednesday 6th September is the first PMQs after the summer recess – give us a wave as you walk in.