Britain: Occupy London evicted

Police break up St. Paul’s camp, which lasted for more than 100 days

On the night of 27 February police removed the tents and equipment of the "Occupy London" camp, which started on the international day of action on 15 October 2011. On this day, the initial attempt to occupy London Stock Exchange was followed by protestors setting up camp at St Paul’s in an internationally known symbol of protest against corporate greed.

While the occupy movement in Britain never reached the same size as in the US or the Indignados in Spain, the anger and frustration of young people still expressed itself in huge sympathy for this protest in the City of London.

Photo: Paul Mattsson publishes below a statement by Youth Fight For Jobs against the eviction.

Solidarity with Occupy London

Youth fight for Jobs writes: "Just after midnight on Tuesday 28 February riot police brutally evicted the peaceful Occupy London protesters from their camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, which had been set up on 15 October last year.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) expresses its full solidarity to all those involved and stands firmly against all attacks on the right to protest.

The occupy camp, while relatively small in numbers, was able to have a big impact. The slogan ‘we are the 99%’ chimed with millions of people in the country who are facing brutal austerity, while greedy bankers and big business continue to get bigger and bigger rewards.

Alongside other protests, including last year’s YFJ Jarrow March for Jobs, this movement has contributed to forcing the government to try to defend the capitalist system – a system for the ‘1%’. But David Cameron and others’ talk of ‘moral’ or ‘responsible’ capitalism doesn’t wash, especially when it comes from one of the most brutal, nasty, ‘slash and burn’ governments in history.

Capitalism is a system built on exploitation and is necessarily ‘irresponsible’. That’s why we need to change the system if we are to have a society organised to meet the needs of the majority, not the greed of the minority.

Photo: Paul Mattsson

YFJ says: “Take the wealth off the 1% – nationalise the banks and use the vast sums held in the vaults of the super rich to create jobs, build houses and provide services for the 99%. Going forwards, we hope to work with those involved in the occupy movement to help fight for a better society – one run for the millions not the millionaires.”

Youth Fight for Jobs & Education

Sign of the times

Last week three senior judges decided in favour of the City of London Corporation going ahead with the removal of the ’Occupy’ protesters from outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Barrister Michael Paget, having spoken for them in the courts during three hearings on their right to protest in this manner, told the media:

"…Throughout this process, the seriousness of Occupy’s message has never been questioned. It was recognised by the trial judge and the court of appeal…

"The Occupy message has raised issues of extreme public importance. This dysfunctional system needs to be called to account.

"Britain has a highly successful car industry, and yet the engineers are not given a new sports car as a Christmas bonus! In contrast, bankers seem divorced from the remaining 99% of the country… (They) plunder the coffers to grant themselves unjustified, unwarranted and, my clients believe, bonuses that are grotesque.

"The Occupy message has been heard and will continue to be heard. It has made a difference and will continue to make a difference."

This barrister clearly had great sympathy with the protesters, for whom he gave his services pro bono. He had actually discovered that St Paul himself was supposed to have been a humble tent-maker (before falling off his donkey and changing his name from Saul to Paul). Michael was confident, he had said in an earlier hearing, that the saint would naturally have supported the anti-capitalist protesters who live in tents, rather than the arch-defenders of the system – the big-wigs of the Cathedral, the Stock Exchange and the Corporation of London – said to be one of the richest entities in Europe.

Clare Doyle

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