The Occupy camp at St Paul’s is again facing eviction after talks between the protesters and the City of London Corporation broke down.
The Corporation’s initial offer to allow the camp to remain until the new year, with the provisos that part of the camp was scaled back to improve fire access and that tents would be cleared from Corporation land by 2012, were rejected by OccupyLSX who turned out to have some demands of their own:
1. Publish full, year-by-year breakdowns of the City Cash account, future and historic.
2. Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
3. Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of the banking and finance industries, since the 2008 financial crash.
The Corporation weren’t keen and Policy Chairman of the Corporation Stuart Fraser said:
‘We paused legal action for two weeks for talks with those in the camp on how to shrink the extent of the tents and to set a departure date – but got nowhere. So, sadly, now they have rejected a reasonable offer to let them stay until the New Year, it’s got to be the courts. We’d still like to sort this without court action but from now on we will have to have any talks in parallel with court action – not instead.’
Although the protesters have been asked to remove their tents from Corporation land, they are not required to remove them from land belonging to St Paul’s Cathedral; that organisation withdrew their threat of legal action and as yet have not shown any inclination to reinstate it. Given the hoo-ha and resignations within the clergy over the church’s poor handling of the Occupy affair previously, we think they’d probably be a bit wary of doing so.
None of this affects the Occupy Finsbury Square camp, which isn’t showing any signs of moving, though an attempt to occupy Trafalgar Square during the student protests last week failed. Canary Wharf and Broadgate management groups also took pre-emptive measures to prevent camps popping up on their manors.
The Occupy movement have this week started a new, albeit collaborative occupation: The Guardian’s Comment is Free website, which they were invited to guest-edit. The Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park was cleared yesterday amidst accusations of police brutality.