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130 Bicyclists, Including Occupy Londoners, Arrested During Olympic Opening Ceremony

An officer arrests a cyclist after a Critical Mass bike protest outside the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

London Olympics bike protest

LONDON (The Blaze/AP) -- Police protecting the Olympic Park on opening night said Saturday they arrested more than 130 activists on bicyclists involved in an hours-long effort to breach the park's security cordon.

Police said they were aware that a monthly protest by cyclists was planned for Friday but ordered the protesters to remain south of the River Thames, to keep them from blocking more than 80,000 ticket-holding guests from attending the Olympics opening ceremony.

London Olympics bike protest

The anti-capitalist group Occupy London, part of a global movement that has waged demonstrations against financial institutions and capitalist policies, said some cyclists were members of the movement. They said police cordoned off more than 100 cyclists at one road junction near the stadium as Friday's ceremony was beginning and held them there several hours.

A Metropolitan Police statement said about 400 to 500 cyclists immediately and repeatedly sought to cross bridges north to the Olympic venue, and scores of cyclists succeeded by breaking up into smaller groups. It said police began arresting the cyclists only after several verbal warnings to leave the area were ignored.

London Olympics bike protest

According to the U.K. Telegraph, officers blocked the cyclists' route as they rode in formation, forcibly removing some from their bikes as they tried to break through the cordon.

"People have a right to protest. It is an incredibly important part of our democracy," the Metropolitan Police statement said.

"What people do not have the right to do is to hold a protest that stops other people from exercising their own rights to go about their business. That means athletes who have trained for years for their chance in a lifetime to compete; millions of ticket holders from seeing the world's greatest sporting event; and everyone else in London who wants to get around."

London Olympics bike protest

London Olympics bike protest

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