The Occupy London Stock Exchange (Occupy LSX) protest could and should be evicted from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral , Britain’s High Court ruled today. The protest began on October 15, 2011, and Occupy London has already said it will appeal. The judge said that there was a “pressing need” for the streets to be cleared and for people to be allowed unrestricted access to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
John Cooper QC, one of Occupy London’s defenders, said that the impact of the occupation was over-exaggerated – St. Paul’s has been open since late October – and that courts should be guarding the people’s right to protest.
Eviction papers were first issued against Occupy London in mid-November, and at Mr Justice Lindblom announced 2:30 p.m. the results of a five-day hearing before Christmas. It was not in favor of the Occupiers. The protestors called a press conference, and said they would file an appeal. About an hour later, news came in that the campers would have just three days to move out, though they had asked for seven.
At just after four, Occupy LSX heard that they had been denied the right to appeal through the High Court, and that they could not camp during the daytime and remove tents at night. However, they have five days to appeal through the Court of Appeal. Within the hour, this was amended to seven days.
Aside from violence, arrests and hygiene issues, some of which have been solved in London by the judicious use of porta-potties, the greatest criticism of the Occupy Movement has been its lack of singular focus. While protestors run the gamut from teenagers to retirees, there has never been true leadership or direction. Some are anti-capitalism; others are anti-haves and have-nots; others want affordable schooling and homes. At least there is a general theme; and a camp is better than riots.
The 99% is a recurring theme throughout the entire Occupy Movement, indicating imbalance in the distribution of wealth. The church, left- and right-wing extremists and other “special interests” have tried to claim followers. Yet during the three-month run of Occupy LSX, a food tent, portable toilets and impromptu library were set up to attend to three basic human needs: Dummies, the protestors were not.
Occupy London LSX timeline
- October 15 2011: Occupy LSX begins
- October 28 2011: St. Paul’s Cathedral reopens
- October 25 2011: A second camp starts in Finsbury Square
- October 31 2011: Dean of St. Paul’s, The Very Reverend Graeme Knowles, resigns
- November 1 2011: St. Paul’s Cathedral and London Corporation withdraw legal action
- November 9 2011: Students protest greatly increased university fees
- November 16 2011: City of London tries to evict Occupy LSX
- November 30 2011: One of the largest public sector strikes in Britain’s history is staged; City of London serves enforcement notices
- December 19 2011: Eviction hearing begins
- January 18 2012: High Court judge upholds the eviction
The London Corporation, which looks after the core square mile of the City of London, claims that, by the time all this is over, it will have spent nearly half a million pounds through cleanup and policing, not including legal fees which, reportedly, are approaching another quarter-million.
Famous visitors to Occupy LSX have included Reverend Jesse Jones, Julian Assange and Alan Moore, whose Guy Fawkes character has become the de facto mask for those who didn’t want their time in Occupy to haunt them later…and to show solidarity.
Despite the closure and the likely denial of appeal in a week’s time, the Occupy London protestors can at least be sure that their general theme has been heard. In London, as elsewhere, change is needed, and some of that change should come through the efforts of Occupy London. Perhaps, just perhaps, a dialog will now start.
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- King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery
Sources: Guardian; and again; Occupy LSX website; Getty Images
Linda Gentile is the British Life Examiner and British Royal Family Examiner. You can be the first to read new articles on either topic by subscribing to the newsletter or adding the RSS feed. You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook.