Millennium Wheel Attracts Protestors

London's new millennium landmark is the site of an environmental protest

London's millennium wheel is still being constructed, but protestors decided it was a great place to attract attention and their plan worked. Environmental protesters climbed to the top of the 450-foot structure to protest dam projects in Spain and India.

Nine protesters in all gathered at the wheel on Monday, two climbed to the top and spent the night. Once up the protesters unfurled a banner reading "Stop the Dams". The men were part of a group called Solidarios con Itoitz, which opposes construction of the Itoitz reservoir in Spain's Basque country.

When the final two protesters came down from the wheel on Tuesday morning they found police waiting on the bottom to escort them to police headquarters. They were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage. Their fellow demonstrators cheered and clapped wildly as the men waved from the wheel. A construction lift brought them down the final stretch, and into the arms of Scotland Yard officers.

The Millennium Wheel is a $33 million project that will take visitors above the city beginning New Year's Eve. The wheel is the fourth-tallest structure in the capital.

It sits along the River Thames and was just hauled upright on October 17. The wheel is still under construction, 32 glass capsules still need to be added to the wheel so people can sit inside and go for a spin. The opening of the millennium wheel will be part of the big London Millennium fireworks show and party on New Year's Eve at 10 p.m.

DATE: 10/27/99

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