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Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

(Contact Julian Cheyne after 1pm on 020-3560 4064 and 07988 401216)

Press Release from Counter Olympics Network – 16th July 2012

The iconic Vancouver Poverty Olympics Torch will make an historic appearance in London. The East London Poverty Torch Relay will herald the 'Whose Games? Whose City?' Demonstration against the Corporate Olympics to be held on July 28th. Counter Olympics spokesperson, Julian Cheyne, said:

'The Poverty Torch Relay highlights long-standing Olympic issues of eviction, land seizure and the exclusion of the poor. London 2012 is no different. The Olympics epitomises corporate power and growing social inequality.'

The Torch was handed over to London at a ceremony at the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver in 2010, visited Glasgow in March 2012 and was received by the Counter Olympics Network at the Bishopsgate Institute in April 2012.

Julian Cheyne added: 'This is a milestone in Olympic protest - the first time, to our knowledge, that a protest torch has been handed from one host city to another. We hope this will be a feature of protest in future host cities.'

On Saturday 21st July, the Torch will go from ‘Lympic Stratford and end at bulldozed Wanstead Flats, where there will be an open day arranged by the Met to look at the police facility from 11am to 3pm. Our runners will be received by members of the Save Wanstead Flats campaign at the end of the open day event.

On Friday 27th July, the Torch will go from scenic Clissold Park to the unsightly basketball training facility at Leyton Marsh. The Save Leyton Marsh campaign will hold a welcome party for the torch.

The relays will start at 2pm. Allowing roughly an hour to complete the routes means the runners should arrive at both end points at about 3pm.

(Contact Julian Cheyne after 1pm on 020-3560 4064, 07988 401216)


1. Compulsory Purchase for London 2012: ‘A prime opportunity for the property industry.’

'We don't think it will be difficult to get partners,' says LDA head of property and development Gareth Blacker. 'If we do the site assembly we're proposing to do, we're creating a prime opportunity for the property industry.'

2. Wanstead Flats - A Terrible Precedent Is Born

The campaign against the use of Wanstead Flats during next year's Olympics by the police for a Muster Briefing and Deployment Centre has never just been about what happens in 2012. From the beginning, it has always been about the precedent set by choosing to enclose part of Epping Forest, an area supposedly protected by a 135-year-old Act of Parliament.

3. History of Our Campaign: The story of Save Leyton Marsh

The landgrab is not just about abusing a large area of greenbelt land in opposition to the local residents. It’s not just about creating a precedent for this land to effectively become brownfield and so ready for other development. We have uncovered that it’s also a Trojan horse whereby the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) will be able to more easily implement its pre-existing (but publicly unknown) proposals to knock down the adjacent Ice Centre in Lea Bridge Road and build something double its size.

Principally we have learned that the weight of state oppression is on us. Save Leyton Marsh originally set out to be a local environmental campaign, and the group would have opposed whoever, whichever public body decided to start digging up Leyton Marsh for whatever reason, for whatever period of time. We have learned that because the purpose of this shameful destruction of our green fields is the London 2012 Olympic Games, we are not free to object, protest or campaign as we should be.

4. Planning Displacement: The Real Legacy of Major Sporting Events
Three Games, three eviction stories

In September 2009 Planning Theory and Practice Magazine published, in its Interface section, three articles on displacement caused by three different mega-events, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

5. 'What Olympic Legacy?'

In 2002, long before the credit crunch, Game Plan, a Government report signed by Tony Blair, said ‘We conclude that the quantifiable evidence to support each of the perceived benefits for mega events is weak, The explicit costs of hosting a mega event should be weighed very carefully against the perceived benefits…(which) appear to be more about celebration than economic returns’. The party legacy!

Report by Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)

This report is dedicated to the millions of victims of housing rights abuses in the context of mega-events. It is dedicated to those who have lost their homes and suffered displacement or eviction because of the Olympic Games or other megaevents; those who have been arrested, beaten, traumatised, incarcerated, even killed; those who have been dispossessed and impoverished; and those who have otherwise found themselves unable to ‘share the spirit’ when the Olympics or other events came to town.

7. Rio Evictions: Brazil off-course for World Cup and Olympics – UN housing expert

UN Housing Report

GENEVA (26 April 2011) – As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the right to adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, said Tuesday she has received many allegations concerning displacement and evictions potentially leading to violations of human rights.

8. Sochi's Soviet style Olympics

The dismal record of mega event evictions, media manipulation, lying and overspends continues. Sochi is striving hard to compete with Delhi and Beijing as the most brutal event in recent years.


The goal of this chapter is to address the housing displacement and criminalization of Atlanta’s poor and homeless people – both motivated and generated by the Olympic Games.

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