Rise Park activist speaks at Oxford Street ‘die-in’ protest

Police escort the protestors. Picture: Terry Hurlstone

Police escort the protestors. Picture: Terry Hurlstone - Credit: Archant

A 75-year-old activist who was once arrested for tying a chain across Oxford Street has returned to the scene for a funeral-style protest – featuring a “Dutch style die-in”.

 Terry Hurlstone

Terry Hurlstone - Credit: Archant

Back in 1972, Rise Park’s Terry Hurlstone was campaigning to pedestrianise the famous high street when he felt the long arm of the law after his antics stopped traffic.

On Saturday he was one of 500 protesters taking part in the National Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence march, organised by cycling and pedestrian safety campaigners Stop the Killing.

Featuring a horse-drawn hearse carrying an empty coffin, the dramatic parade paused for a two-minute silence at Oxford Street before travelling to Marble Arch, where the protesters had a longer pause.

Led by a lone bagpiper, they staged a “Dutch style die-in” around the arch, where they all – minus Terry – simulated being dead as a way of remembering those killed on the roads.

“I couldn’t do it, I’d never have got up again,” said Terry, of Garry Way. “But it was a fun event, some people were in costume and the police escorted us down Oxford Street.”

As a founder member of Friends of the Earth, and one of the four organisers of the 1972 protest, Terry was chosen to give a speech, along with crash survivors and victim’s families.

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In it, he encouraged activists to “bombard Boris with demands to make London a safer place.”

Ten demands were outlined by the campaigners, including a multi-billion pound fund to create home zones in residential neighbourhoods; £3 billion annual investment for a national segregated cycle route; and the reform of transport departments into walking, cycling and transport departments.

Stop Killing Cyclists organiser Donnachadh McCarthy said: “Saturday’s powerful protest sent a loud message to the government and London’s Mayor that the time for meaningless spin-doctoring about cycling and walking are over.

“What people across Britain want to see is real investment in making our streets safe for humans, not billions more for the motor lobby.”