Spiked, 1st August 2012
On Saturday the vanguard of anti-Olympics moaners, the Counter Olympics Network, held a demonstration in Bow, London. The protest focused on a smorgasbord of issues, from missiles on the roofs of blocks of flats in East London, to the historic grievances of the Circassians ethnic group in Russia.
Like many modern protests, such as Occupy and the G20 protesters, these protesters had no clear aim or demands, instead amounting to little more than gathering of individuals with various gripes. There were anti-cuts campaigners, pro-disability rights campaigners, anti-‘militarisation’ of the Olympics campaigners, those decrying the corporate greed or gain or corruption, and anti-BP activists. For once, however, no Palestinian flags seemed to be present.
Although most of the grievances could be linked in some way to the Olympics, the diversity of it all made the protest rather meaningless. The overall message seemed to be: ‘The Olympics is causing some bad stuff, stop it.’ Hardly a realistic and concrete demand to take to the streets for!
The protest contrasted sharply with those competing in the Games. While the Olympians were focused on winning and striving towards goals, the losers protesting outside seemed to be striving towards nothing in particular.