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Most Critical Mass cyclists arrested on eve of Olympics will go free

Only 16 of 182 arrested will face further questioning as solicitors claim police were heavy handed

Most of the Critical Mass cycle protesters arrested on the eve of the Olympic Games in London will face no further action, solicitors representing protesters have said.

Of the 182 people arrested on the outskirts of the Olympic Park following a scuffle between police and Critical Mass riders, only 16 will be interviewed when they return to police stations next week.

Riders complained they were being kettled at around 22.30 on July 27, as the Olympic opening ceremony was underway in the main stadium.

Raj Chada, solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen said:  "This has all the hallmarks of a flawed police operation. A regular event in London was over-policed because of paranoia about the Olympics.

"182 people were arrested - kept on buses for hours without food or water because they couldn't be booked in custody suites, released as soon as they made to the police station, given hugely restrictive bail conditions for several weeks and now, thankfully, they have been told there is no further action.

"We consider there are potential civil claims for compensation against the police following the mistreatment of our clients and will be taking this further.”

Some cyclists faced bail conditions including keeping away from the Olympic Park, or had their bikes held until after the Games were over.

Critical Mass rides are monthly protest rides, which are usually held peacefully in conjunction with the police. Hundreds of cyclists ride together, slowing traffic in central London.

Although this month's ride had not been billed as an anti-Olympic ride, Critical Mass does not have an explicit agenda, and discussion on the message boards contained debate as to whether the ride was a protest against the Games.

Before the ride, the organisers warned cyclists they might need to be 'peacefully' assertive in the face of stronger than usual police presence.

The Metropolitan Police had already warned riders to stay south of the river.

They tweeted:

"The procession is not to commence before 1800hrs on 27/07/2012 and end no later than 0300 on 28/07/2012 #Criticalmass #protest"

and warned riders to say off the Olympic Route Network:

"Participants must not enter any part of the ORN #criticalmass #protest"

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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