PROTESTORS against a divisive transport scheme stopped traffic by sitting in the road.

More than 100 demonstrators sat on the pedestrian crossing by the junction of Manzil Way and Cowley Road, halting traffic including buses.

The protestors handed out leaflets to drivers and pedestrians, and held up posters and placards against low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).

One demonstrator, Shakil Akhtar, told the Oxford Mail: “This is effecting all of us – our children, our healthcare workers and our disabled people.

“If the LTNs are so good, then why haven’t they been put in North Oxford too?

“I’m a taxi driver and I’m having to take people on longer journeys.

“These protests are going to be a regular thing, we’re not messing about and we’re not going anywhere.”

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Oxford city councillor Saj Malik said: “I’m against the principle when there’s so many objections and so much opposition to the LTNs.

“Businesses are still suffering and Cowley Road is becoming very segregated.

“It’s about keeping up the pressure, it really is kicking in.”

Georgina Gibbs, a district nurse based in Headington, added: “Because of the LTNs, it’s slowing people in getting to their appointments. There’s more congestion.

“I’ve never seen traffic like this in Oxford.”

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Dr Sheikh Ramzy added: “We need to be uniting the community. Thousands of people have been signing petitions, but we need to be getting together to unite our society.”

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police told the Oxford Mail ‘a number of people were asked to move from the road and have since moved’.

The spokesperson added: “Officers will work to facilitate the public’s right to demonstrate peacefully and minimise disruption to the local community.”

Stagecoach Oxfordshire reported it was experiencing ‘high levels of disruption’ to its Cowley Road services, while Oxford Bus Company apologised online for the inconvenience after services were diverted.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “We know that some residents and businesses have faced challenges as these traffic calming measures settle in, and we remain committed to listening to their views.

“When deciding to make the Cowley measures permanent, cabinet was asked to consider a range of information including consultation feedback monitoring data, legal advice, and equality and climate impact assessments.

“In their decision, members recognised the range of views expressed and committed to undertake additional community engagement to further refine the scheme, with any changes to be made by spring 2023.

“In east Oxford, the trial is ongoing, and we would strongly encourage people to engage with our public consultation at”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

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