Socialist Worker

Occupy London camp defies eviction threats

Issue No. 2276

Protesters have been camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London for over two weeks now  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Protesters have been camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London for over two weeks now (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The row over attempts to remove London’s main Occupy camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral intensified this week.

The City of London Corporation was due to serve eviction papers on Tuesday. But the cathedral’s authorities announced that they no longer support the eviction. The Corporation may proceed without them.

Graeme Knowles, dean of St Paul’s, resigned on Monday after criticism of his handling of the situation. Canon Giles Fraser and chaplain Fraser Dyer both stepped down last week in protest at the planned eviction.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange camp was still going strong as Socialist Worker went to press. It hosts around 150 tents, with a significant population now permanently based there.

Chris is part of the camp’s night watch. He told Socialist Worker, “This is an outburst of anger at the system.

“It’s very broad, from anarchists and socialists to social democrats and even some people you could describe as conservative.”

Press stories last week claiming the camp was deserted at night have since been proved to be lies. And many more come to show support and take part in discussions through in the daytime.

Diverse

The camp has launched its own paper, the Occupied Times, which promises to reflect the diverse range of opinions in the camp.

One article states, “Everyone within the movement agrees on at least one thing: the system as it is cannot go on.”

Martin Smith from Unite Against Fascism spoke at the site’s “tent university” on Sunday and addressed the general ­assembly. He was invited after threats to the camp from the thugs of the racist English Defence League.

They are not the only problem the camp has faced. Police armed with machine guns raided a Kurdish tent there on Thursday last week.

Protesters gathered around the tent to support those inside. Evahi Emanon was one of them. He told Socialist Worker, “This is a peaceful protest—guns are a bit over the top. They’re trying to find an excuse to clear us out.”

Kurdish protesters waved flags of Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. One officer said police were “responding to a call” and that the “threat warranted a police armed response”.

Earlier that evening trade unionists from different unions came to take part in an outreach event called “Your Workplace”.

Occupiers took this initiative in order to link their protest with workers’ struggles, share experiences and discuss future action. Teachers, a health and safety rep, an electrician, a health worker and lecturers all spoke at the event.

Mark Campbell from the UCU lecturers’ union announced that rank and file trade unionists had launched a statement supporting the occupation.

“We support the occupation of St Paul’s,” he told the crowd. “We want thousands, if not tens of thousands, to sign our

statement. We are with you.”


Activists at Occupy Edinburgh continue to brave the cold weather, with over 30 tents still camping at St Andrew’s Square. Assemblies are held at 6pm every evening.

Sign the solidarity statement at

www.petitiononline.com/tulsx


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