Vigilantes plotting ‘uprising’ against London low-traffic neighbourhoods

Vandalism against a low-traffic neighbourhood in Hackney, east London, in 2020. Credit: Hackney Cyclist/TwitterVandalism against a low-traffic neighbourhood in Hackney, east London, in 2020. Credit: Hackney Cyclist/Twitter
Vandalism against a low-traffic neighbourhood in Hackney, east London, in 2020. Credit: Hackney Cyclist/Twitter | Hackney Cyclist/Twitter

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An investigation has found that campaigners in London have been monitoring the movements of councillors who brought in the controversial pro-walking and cycling schemes.

Furious motorists are using an encrypted messaging app favoured by terrorists to recruit “serious contenders not keyboard warriors” for an “uprising” against low-traffic neighbourhoods, an investigation by our sister title LondonWorld has revealed.

Among the plots being discussed on Telegram – used by ISIS to recruit fanatics for the 2015 Paris attack and 2016 Brussels bombings – are plans to continuously blast music at councillors’ houses and block roads with raucous street parties.

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Low-traffic neighbourhoods - which prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over cars - were rolled out during the coronavirus pandemic, to allow people to travel safely.

Supporters say they are essential to tackling pollution and climate change, by encouraging Londoners to take more sustainable transport.

However, vigilante drivers - who claim the closure of residential roads has gridlocked main roads in London - are now threatening to take matters into their own hands.

The madcap schemes were uncovered as part of a two-week LondonWorld investigation, which saw undercover reporters infiltrate a series of anti-LTN groups on social media.

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An image of Hackney councillors shared on an anti-LTN Facebook group. Credit: FacebookAn image of Hackney councillors shared on an anti-LTN Facebook group. Credit: Facebook
An image of Hackney councillors shared on an anti-LTN Facebook group. Credit: Facebook | Credit: Facebook

Users in one group shared chilling real-time updates on the locations of senior Hackney council officials – including mayor Philip Glanville and transport boss Mete Coban.

A picture taken from a parked car showed the duo deep in conversation with four female colleagues.

The caption read: “They are on Stoke Newington Church street.”

One user replied with a plea for a vehicle to mount the pavement, hinting at an ISIS-style truck attack.

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He wrote: “If only a council dust cart could mount the pavement now.”

Another wrote: “Wish I was there.”

One anti-LTN vigilante says he wishes a council dust cart could “mount the pavement”. Credit: FacebookOne anti-LTN vigilante says he wishes a council dust cart could “mount the pavement”. Credit: Facebook
One anti-LTN vigilante says he wishes a council dust cart could “mount the pavement”. Credit: Facebook | Facebook

Another popular post on the group saw activists agree to organise “uprisings” over Telegram, after being told to “be careful” when discussing plots in public.

One prolific member – who LondonWorld cannot name for legal reasons – called for an “uprising” over the controversial traffic schemes.

He wrote: “They can’t keep inflicting misery on us.

“There needs to be an uprising.

“I’m looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. “Pro action is required now!”

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One poster in the private social media group, said that there “needs to be an uprising” against LTNs, and added that he was “looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. Credit: FacebookOne poster in the private social media group, said that there “needs to be an uprising” against LTNs, and added that he was “looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. Credit: Facebook
One poster in the private social media group, said that there “needs to be an uprising” against LTNs, and added that he was “looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. Credit: Facebook | Facebook

After ‘liking’ a comment warning him to “be careful what is said”, the user agreed to organise the noise-blasting campaign over Telegram, saying “louder the better. Msg me when.”

Within 12 hours, he revealed that he’d finalised plans for a raucous street party outside a councillor’s house.

He wrote: “Ok we are going to organise a parklet party on [REDACTED].

“I’m bringing the music.

“Bring and share drinks and snacks.”

LondonWorld passed on information to Hackney Council, which was the target of the vigilantes.

You can read the full version of this story on LondonWorld

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