COUNTER OLYMPICS NETWORK – WHOSE GAMES? WHOSE CITY? – PRESS RELEASE

WHOSE GAMES? WHOSE CITY?

CRITICS OF LONDON OLYMPICS ANNOUNCE LARGE SCALE EVENT TO COINCIDE WITH FIRST SATURDAY OF GAMES

The Counter Olympics Network (CON)[1] announces a march and rally in London’s East End on Saturday 28 July, assembling in Mile End Park (near Mile End tube station) at 12 noon, and marching to Victoria Park for a family friendly People’s Games for All which will include speeches, entertainment, “alternative games”, and children’s events.

Already more than 30 organisations officially support the event, with more coming on board all the time[2]. They include anti corporate campaigns, civil liberties groups, local trades councils, green groups, anti militarists, community groups, other anti Olympics campaigns, disability activists, and others. It will be an event which symbolically “reclaims” the Games, a party to which everyone is invited. It will present a truer and more optimistic vision of Britain than the officially promoted one of a militarised and austerity ridden country that is content to be hijacked by millionaire politicians and their corporate friends[3].

The Counter Olympics Network links people and organisations critical of some or many aspects of the 2012 Games. Issues of concern include:

  • the corporate takeover of the Games (with sponsors that profit from sweatshops, poison local people, pollute the planet, and so much more);
  • the eviction of local people from their homes and businesses to make way for the Olympic sites, and prioritising the interests of global corporations at the expense of small businesses;
  • the privatisation of public space;
  • the introduction of repressive policing and surveillance in conjunction with the Games, and the use of the Games to promote acceptance of the militarisation of society (in particular – siting missile launchers on domestic roofs in East London, employing 42,000 private security staff on top of the vast police and military presence, increasing stop and search powers which target and alienate local young people, placing warships on the Thames and at Weymouth, and introducing preventive detention and ASBOs to intimidate peaceful anti-Olympics protesters);
  • the threat to both the lives and livelihoods of Londoners caused by the VIP Lanes for dignitaries on London roads;
  • the encouragement of nationalism, in contradiction to the supposed spirit of the Olympics;
  • the sanctioning of gender apartheid in Olympic teams;
  • the “body fascism” mentality in elite sport;
  • the hypocrisy of a Paralympics sponsor, ATOS, which is also responsible for wrongly removing welfare payments from tens of thousands of people with disabilities;
  • the multi-billion-pound expenditure, much of it on temporary facilities, and most of it unnecessary at a time of supposed austerity.

 

CON helps to provide a co-ordinated voice for a wide range of groups which share the desire to provide a counterbalance to the overblown mainstream pro Olympics propaganda. CON is also concerned that the Orwellian security apparatus and regressive legislation put in place to protect brands, privilege, and privatised public space won’t all disappear after the Games.

CON supporter Julian Cheyne said today, “The 2012 Olympics have turned into a corporate festival of world security, consuming billions of our money to increase private profits, while the elderly, disabled, sick, unemployed, young people and other groups are punished for a crisis caused by the finance industry. To stand by silently would imply we consent to this; and we do not. If you are as fed up with all of this as we are, come and join our Counter Olympics gathering on 28th July.”

NOTES:

1) For further background on the Counter Olympics Network, see http://counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com.

2) The current list of (35) groups and organisations supporting the event is:
ALARM
Athletes Against Dow Chemical’s Olympic Sponsorship
BADHOC
Blacklist Support Group
Brent Trades Council
Coalition of Resistance
Counterfire
Defend the Right to Protest
Disabled People Against Cuts
Drop Dow Now
East London Against Arms Fairs
G4S Campaign
Games Monitor
Hackney Green Party
Hackney Trades Council
Hackney Woodcraft Folk
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Haringey Trades Council
Islington Trades Council
Jewish Socialist Group
Lewisham People Before Profit
Lewisham Stop the War
Lewisham Trades Council
London Green Party
London Mining Network
Netpol
Occupy London
Our Olympics
Save Leyton Marsh Campaign
Space Hijackers
Stop the Olympic Missiles
Thurrock Heckler
UK Tar Sands Network
Waltham Forest Trades Council
Youth Fight For Jobs

3) Some of the major corporations behind the Olympics, whose activities CON supporters oppose, are BP, DOW Chemicals, McDonald’s, Cadburys, ATOS, Coca Cola, G4S, EDF, and Rio Tinto. See the official London 2012 website (http://www.london2012.com/about-us/the-people-delivering-the-games/olympic-partners) for a full list of official Olympic sponsors. See also the article “London 2012 Olympics’ shameful corporate sponsors” on the website of Games Monitor, a prominent CON supporter (http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/node/1609).

4) For press enquiries, contact Julian Cheyne (by phone on 020-3560 4064 or 07988 401216, or by e-mail on juliancheyne@yahoo.co.uk) who can also put journalists in touch with experts on many of the specific issues of concern. Note that he is not usually available in the mornings but messages can be left on the landline or by email.

5) Besides the main CON website (http://counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com), there is also:
CON’s Facebook presence (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Counter-Olympics-Network/392140590828714);
and a Facebook page for the 28 July event (https://www.facebook.com/events/291553350941427).
You can follow CON on Twitter (@counterolympics);
and also share news about the 28 July event on Twitter (#ProtestJuly28).

No limos! No logos! No launchers!

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