Yesterday afternoon the Edinburgh Critical Mass congregated at the Mound and set off onto the city streets, sound system in tow. The mass had a great cycle around town for over an hour, with motorists up to their usual tricks, and a lively, upbeat atmosphere from the riders.
The next monthly Critical Mass is Friday the 30th July. Meet 5.30 at the bottom of The Mound in Edinburgh and George Square in Glasgow.
As the mass neared the end of Melville Drive, followed by an impressive tailback of commuters, a police car swung in front of the cyclists on the wrong side of the road, forced the mass to stop and picked out the sound system rider for no apparent reason. As no offence was being committed, the riders found it hard to see why their details should be given over. After some arguing, and an increasingly frustrated cop who realised that he had no grounds for demanding the riders details, backup quickly arrived, with three more cop cars and three vans.
Suddenly, the sound system rider was cuffed and violently arrested by four officers, with other riders quickly responding, but forced back by the first cop on the scene, who drew his baton and threatened the other riders, shouting aggressively. The other cops shoved the riders around, refused to let them communicate with the arrested rider, and eventually forced the riders out of the Meadows with threats of arrest and physical violence shouting things such as "disappear". They also stole the soundsystem, trailer and bike.
The arrested rider was eventually released later last night with four charges - cycling without due care and attention, obstruction of the highway with a bicycle and trailer, failure to provide details when required and resisting arrest.
Edinburgh cops are known for this kind of criminalisation and harassment of peaceful protesters and their tactics are designed to put people off and crush dissent - but the mass will come back stronger!
*Next Edinburgh Critical Mass: Friday 30th July, 5:30pm, bottom of the Mound*