Olympics: London Taxi Drivers protest banned by Police image

London taxi drivers who were planning to protest today against their ban from using Olympic traffic lanes have been banned by the Metropolitan Police.

The taxi drivers were due to stage a demonstration in London’s Hyde Park today but have been banned from protesting along the entire Olympic route by the Metropolitan Police.

The conditions imposed on them by the police also ban them from going north of the River Thames overnight.

Last week more than 250 black cabs blocked traffic in Parliament Square in central London for two hours today in a demonstration organized by Cabbies Against Boris, a campaign group for the city’s taxicab drivers, who will be excluded from using the lanes from 6 a.m. until midnight.

“We wanted to take part when the biggest show in the world comes to London, the city we service every day of our lives – and they exclude us,” said Len Martin, from United Cabbies, which organises the protests.

“It’s fair to say that anyone who is reliant upon using London’s roads to earn a living is going to suffer a big loss of income,” Tom Abbot, company secretary at Elite Chauffeur, told IBTimes UK in an exclusive interview.

“The end result is a massive drop in turnover, a massive drop in profit, a massive drop in our chauffeurs’ pay cheques.”

Organizers have designated nearly 30 miles of roads for exclusive use by athletes and Olympics officials to enable them to reach their destinations in time for sporting events. In theory at least, traffic-free corridors will enable speedy travel between key venues.

The authorities have also designated a wider, 109-mile “Olympic route network” along which traffic lights will give priority to Olympic vehicles and roads will open and close to the public according to a perplexing timetable.