London: Over 200 London taxi drivers today brought Westminster to a standstill to protest at being banned from plying on dedicated Olympics traffic lanes from next week.
The famous black cabs arrived in Parliament Square just before 2 pm blaring their horns. London Games organisers, who developed the so-called Zil lanes, have said that the dedicated routes would be available only to Olympics officials, athletes and other approved vehicles.
Motorists who stray into Games lanes face a fine of 130 pounds. "There will be no access to these lanes for any traffic apart from the Olympics family," Jonathan Myers, of the United Cabbies group union, said.
"Taxis are excluded, which is unacceptable and wrong. This is a working city and we need to get around and do our job."
Parliament Square quickly ground to a halt as the drivers descended on central London for what they plan to be a two- hour protest. Traffic soon snarled up Whitehall, Millbank and over Westminster Bridge as car horns and traffic fumes filled the air, The Sun reported.
Myers said: "We've come to Parliament so MPs can wake up and hear what we're talking about." He believed it would "absolutely impossible" for cabbies to carry on ferrying commuters around the capital during the Games when the full lane restrictions take effect on July 25.
Taxi drivers plan further demonstrations on Monday and on July 27 — the day the Olympics officially open.