Riot police mop up anti-car protesters

Several people were arrested last night when riot police clashed with demonstrators at the end of an anti-car protest in north London.

Reclaim The Streets, a radical environmental group dedicated to fighting what it sees as the cult of the motor vehicle, took over Upper Street, Islington, one of London's busiest roads, to try to prove that cities are better without cars.

The protest had begun at lunchtime and by about 8pm the demonstrators had dwindled to a hard core of about 200 people. Police then moved in to clear the road and sporadic fights broke out as the protesters were driven away from Upper Street. About 150 riot police drove the remaining protesters towards Kings Cross station. More scuffles broke out, several windows were smashed and half a dozen bottles and cans were thrown at the police as the protesters fled the area.

Until then, the event had been peaceful. At about 2pm 1,000 people, acting as a catalyst for the demonstration, poured out of Angel Tube station and on to one of London's busiest junctions. Simultaneously, scores of other protesters, who had been hiding in side streets, ran on to the road and blocked the traffic.

An armoured personnel carrier then drove into the centre of the road, the rear doors were flung open and a sound system began pumping out the Jimi Hendrix song "All Along The Watchtower".

The traffic was thrown into chaos and half-mile tailbacks swiftly built up in all directions. Protesters wearing climbing equipment scaled more than a dozen lamp-posts and unfurled banners calling for an end to the "tyranny of the motor car".

The street was carpeted and food stalls erected. A children's sand-pit and playpool were also built, while some campaigners wandered along the lines of traffic handing out cool drinks to those trapped in the sweltering heat.

Police officers moved in quickly to divert traffic around the centre of Islington.

A spokesman said the protest was designed to raise public awareness of problems associated with car use. "We're here to show that life is a lot pleasanter without cars. We want to see car access to cities restricted and more pedestrianised areas within them. We also want a co-ordinated transport policy with the emphasis on cycling, walking, trains and buses."

The spokesman claimed that cars devastate the countryside, rivers and cities, displacing wildlife, archaeological sites and communities. He added: "They also lead to out-of-town developments, such as superstores that kill local businesses and destroy more countryside." If the motorists trapped in traffic did not share his sentiments. Stuart Loader said the problem is that people are still able to reach their destination by car even though the delays are frequent and long. "Unless something is done people will bring their cars into the cities so the situation won't to improve it will just get worse."

For Matthew Goss, who was unable to get to his home, the protest "ruined my whole day".

But one bus driver, trapped in a queue of about 20 empty buses, said he was in favour of the demonstration. "It's anti-car not anti-bus, so I can't complain. And they've been giving out free drinks, too."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Internal Project Manager - Business Analyst, Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the best known and most pr...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

.NET Developer

£650 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer ASP.Net, C#.net, WCF, WPF, .N...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment