A small force from occupy London was sent out to bolster Hackney residents, putting their lives on the line by lying under lorries. This was a super brave attempt to stop them from reaching a publicly owned Olympic building site on the Hackney Marshes.
A basketball training hall is being constructed at Leyton marshes which resides just over Hackney’s borders with Waltham Forest, but happens to be accessed by a plethora of residents in the area. Residents claim that the view across the river will be ruined completely.
Direct action campaigners have been blocking lorries trying to gain access to the sought-after site, where concrete foundations have already been laid, and now protestors from Occupy have joined them, bolstering their cause.
Protesters claim planning permission was pushed through by Waltham Forest Council last month, and they want solid reassurances that the development will not stay for good once the Olympics are over and done with.
“It is public land, we aren’t doing anything wrong,” added Matthew Waterfall from Save Leyton Marsh group.
“The more people we can get down here to block the lorries, the more chance we have to keep enjoying this beautiful space,” he added.
Contrary to popular clamors of an Occupy movement swamping the Olympics, Occupy have said that this is not a protest against the Olympics.
Protesters claim they have stopped at least 20 lorries from gaining access to the site. In a reassuring twist of events however, the Olympic delivery authority has stated that the infrastructure is in fact a temporary one and will be taken down after the games. An ODA (Olympic delivery authority) official is quoted on the BBC website as stating “The basketball training venue for the Olympics and Paralympics is a temporary structure, that will be removed within a month of the end of the Games, and the land restored to its previous state. The vast majority of Leyton Marsh is completely unaffected.”
This confirmation however isn’t watertight enough for some, such as Jane Bednall, who lives near the site, who said: “We want to stop the construction, and if not, we want a very tight legal document which says we are getting the land back in October.”
Whatever happens, one thing is completely certain, the protests will be much stronger in October if the ODA will not fulfill their promises and occupy will be waiting in the wings to reinforce their stance.