Saturday saw a large demonstration in York Road, Kings Heath, against the imposition of the LTN (low traffic neighbourhood). At the conclusion of the meeting it was announced that the organisers would hold a further meeting on the first weekend in July. Speaking after the event the organisers said the demonstration would be the ‘first of many’ public rallies, which would need to be followed up by a legal challenge and public meetings.
A divided community?
Despite claims that a counter-protest by cyclists and others was planned, no such pro-LTN counter-protest took place. Over the course of the rally two to three hundred people participated in a good natured and spirited community protest. Speakers from various shops and residents groups were given the platform which was chaired by the Regional Secretary of the West Midlands branch of the Workers Party, Reuben Lawrence.
WP activist Lauren gave an overview of the effects of the LTN on local businesses. Lauren had co-ordinated the Saturday protest in consultation with businesses and residents who have responded to the 8,000 local leaflets distributed by the Workers Party on the subject. Many businesses were unwilling to put their name to the demonstration as they feared the response from the local councillors and their animated supporters, but the following were willing to publicly state their involvement in the campaign:
Balloon Away – Shirley Anne Florist – KH Pet Centre – Johnstans Butchers – Maurice Robinson Sports – Comfort and Recline – Contrasts of Poplar Road & One Step Ahead Key Cutting
This group of businesses in tandem with individual residents and the Workers Party pointed out that the streets in Kings Heath belong to all residents, and that it was not fair to make some streets suffer an intolerable increase in traffic so that others could benefit. Lauren, to loud cheers said that Birmingham (and Britain) needs real green policies, starting with public transport solutions to reduce car usage; selective road closures were not a solution.
The full video of the rally can be seen on You Tube:
Cllr Trickett not willing to listen
Reporting from the rally Birmingham Live said that hundreds of residents had descended on York Road, and provided photographs to prove the point. In a display of arrogance Cllr Trickett rather than listening to what the protestors had to say, questioned whether the reporter was even there. Calling into question the journalists integrity because the story was not “on message” Cllr Trickett displayed yet again the kind of arrogance that suggests the fight against the LTN will need to be both united and protracted.
Below is a small selection of photographs from the demonstration, more will be added later in the week.
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