Islington council today served an eviction notice on the remaining Occupy camp in Finsbury Square. The protest group have been given a deadline of Friday 18 May to vacate the camp or face legal action.
Occupy have been in residency at Finsbury Square since last October and its occupants have seen their sister camps at St Pauls, the Bank of Ideas, School of Ideas and Occupy Justice all ousted. Attempts to set up further camps at Barbican and Paternoster Square lasted only hours, and a satellite protest camp at Leyton Marshes was also recently evicted.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety told us:
“The Council has said from the outset that we support the right to peaceful protest, and we have tolerated Occupy’s presence at Finsbury Square since October. However, it is now apparent that the character of the protest has changed and Occupy’s presence is significantly diminished. In the protesters’ place, we now see a group of vulnerable and homeless people who would be better cared for elsewhere.
“At the same time, residents and businesses in and around Finsbury Square are being significantly inconvenienced by the continuing camp and we have had complaints about alcohol and drug use on site, noise, harassment, and damage to property. The extent of damage at the site means Islington Council now faces a substantial bill for repair and clean-up.
“We wish to see the protest end through a negotiated settlement but, with our community suffering, the time has come for us to begin legal proceedings to remove the camp and return Finsbury Square to community use.”
The group, part of a worldwide protest against corporate greed and capitalism, has provided a platform for debate, but has also been criticised for a perceived lack of any particular objectives as well as alleged noise, mess and disruption. Further breaches in the movement were triggered when protesters from the St Paul’s camp tried to move into Finsbury Square.
Here’s a copy of the notice:
Photo by Richard Parmiter in the Londonist Flickr pool.