NYC and London Critical Mass Report 11/25/05
Critical Mass 11/25/05 NYC
At 7pm chilly Union Square North it seemed that the scooters cops, 'undercover' bikepigs, and 'community affairs' cops almost out numbered the 30 or so critical massers and legal observers. By 7:30 or so the crowd grew to about 75-100 and moved out west and then south on 5th ave.
There was a rumur that cops had indicated that the people wouldn't be arrested if the ride stayed below 42nd street, but this seemed unlikely after a row of 5-7 cop vans were seen waiting above Union Square on Broadway and there was a cop helecopter overhead. Soon the scooter cops (around 20 or so) came up along both sides of the mass at 5th ave and 12th street. There was some confusion at first because the cops were not that agressive (they had backed off last month, making no arrests) - perhaps they would escort the ride as they've done in the Past? Nope, they classically formed a line across the avenue in front of the ride and the vans came in from behind. For the most part people easily scattered . Three were arrested and taken to the first precinct. Freewheels went there to supply jail support.
The ride continued in a few smaller groups which the cops apparently found hard to track down - or maybe they weren't trying too hard? There was another group of riders th
at left from Tompkins Square park and encontered the cops up at 23rd st. and 3rd ave. One cylclist walking his bike on the sidewalk (a masser?) was grabbed briefly by the cops, but let go.
While the groups of riders were small, the one I was in was in good spirits. We rode unharrassed for the rest of the evening. We made a swing through Soho dumpstering some fancy organic bread before coming the times-up space to chill.
Still we ride....
London has a brief report off of UK.indymedia:
A smaller turn-out than last time allowed the mass to flow far more easily. Parliament square was circled just once, the police presence was around 20 strong plus a van. A infamous Hummer was blocked from moving for a while, raising spirits on a cold night. Unlike October, where thousands of cyclists proved to be a rather large (yet still great) mess, buses were let through on occasion and any sit-downs were generally for less than a couple of minutes. A one minute "bikes-raised" silence was also held over the recent death of a cyclist in London.