13 November 2000
Protesters hail relaxation of ban
By FWi staff
A POLICE decision to relax plans for an exclusion zone preventing fuel demonstrators descending on London, has been welcomed by the protest leader.
On Monday (13 November) afternoon it was announced that earlier plans for a “ring of steel” around the capital were being scaled down.
But now a convoy travelling from Tyneside to the capital to lobby against fuel tax levels will only be banned from the heart of the city around Scotland Yard.
Farmer David Handley, chairman of the Peoples Fuel Lobby which is spearheading the action, attributed this shift to the hard work of his group.
“Im very pleased at this agreement which came about after negotiations between police and ourselves which lasted more than eight hours.”
He said demonstrators would now be able to proceed with their original plan to hold a rally at Hyde Park on Tuesday (14 November).
Mr Handley confirmed reports that many protesters were travelling to the demonstration independent of the modest convoy and would boost numbers.
However, he refused to be drawn on an estimate of the number he believed would take part. “Wait and see,” he said.
The protest leader said he was pleased with the progress of the convoy, despite widespread criticism in national newspapers and farming unions.
They said the protest should have been called off in view of flood chaos around the country and after Chancellor Gordon Brown made concessions.
“Were more than happy with the way things are going, despite some people being very negative,” insisted Mr Handley.
On Monday around 20 vehicles headed down the M1 before parking overnight at a service station at the end of the motorway.