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...And Finally...

While the quasi-Stalinist preparations for London's Olympics already make the Beijing Olympics look like a hippy love festival, it's hard to explain the own goal committed by the British Transport Police, who have embarked on a campaign of mass arrests of ex-graffiti artists. Presumably because they have no idea of the identity of the scurrilous ne'er-do-wells who are currently spraying and stencilling up Dalston, Hackney or where ever, around thirty fully legit artists who stopped graffin' London's mean streets years ago (if they ever had) were rounded up on very tenuous grounds - one arrestee had done nothing more than register a web domain with pictures of graffiti on it a few years back.

One of the arrested, Darren Cullen, never sprayed a wall covertly in his fifteen year graf artist career. Instead, his modestly-named company Graffiti Kings is commissioned to create that "edgy" look for big corporate clients like Microsoft and Red Bull. He was planning some Olympic-related spraying - via Olympic sponsor Adidas, for a prop for an ITV Olympics programme, and was even approached to paint in the Athletes' Village.

Nevertheless, the Transport Police hammered on his mum's door at the crack of dawn, who helpfully directed them to his correct address (thanks Mum). He was hauled in to the station where he met another 29 confused faces, mainly middle-aged street art retirees. As he told Vice, "That's when it became clear that the police were arresting people with some affiliation to the graffiti scene, wholesale. I'm sure it was all about keeping the city under control during the Olympics".

The arrested were given highly restrictive bail conditions, including not using London trains, not going within a mile of any Olympic sites (most of London, then) and had to deal with the inconvenience of having phones and personal computers seized. What kind of message the cops are trying to send out with this is perplexing... "Dissent will not be tolerated - we don't know what this means, or who might do it, but it won't, even if it's legal and paid for by Olympic sponsors."

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