July 17 - Days before the start of the London Olympics, drivers of black taxis block traffic around parliament to press their demands for access to Olympic lanes. Ciara Sutton reports.
London taxi cabs bring Parliament Square to a stand still. The demonstration is over the introduction of Olympic driving lanes on roads across the city, which black cabs are banned from using. Hundreds of the famous London taxis blocked the square, right in front of the British Houses of Parliament. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TAXI CAB DRIVER, ROSS, SAYING: "Us not being able to drive into it is just so outrageously bad for us as cab drivers. We've still got to do our living, we've still got to get around, and we can't get around to work, with us not being able to get in the lane." The Olympic lanes were introduced in a bid to keep traffic connected to the Games moving, in a city known for its congestion problems. But Jonathan Myers of the United Cabbies Group says the rules will be a disaster for the public. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESPERSON FOR UCG (UNITED CABBIES GROUP), JONATHAN MYERS, SAYING: "Most cab drivers will be about 40-percent down on their earnings. And it's not just about that - cab drivers will survive, we always survive - what it's about is people getting to hospitals, to the theatre, to restaurants, to work, and it's just going to prevent London functioning." Despite the introduction of the lanes, Olympic competitors from Australia and the United States have experienced long delays traveling from Heathrow airport to the Olympic village in east London. Two more protests are planned, including one on the opening day of the Olympics. Ciara Sutton, Reuters