Friday, December 9, 2011

Occupiers Unfazed By Eviction Threat

The Occupied Times

November 23 2011

Legal action against OccupyLSX protesters is underway, but occupiers remain unfazed.

At the time of print, the City of London Corporation was planning on taking occupiers to the high court to start an eviction process. The City considered the St Paul’s occupation a trespass on its public highways and said it was disrupting businesses in the area.

Eviction notices were served last week after negotiations between the two parties failed- the City asked occupiers to scale back the number of tents and leave by the New Year, to which occupiers asked the City to make its business transparent and democratic.

Protesters spoken to by the Occupied Times were not fazed by this recent development, and remained defiant about their cause when the eviction notices were pinned to their tents.

The notices told occupiers to remove “all tents and other structures” by 6pm last Thursday or face legal action. The tents remained and in the lead up to this City deadline, the camp’s legal team John Cooper QC, and Karen Todner talked to occupiers about the legal issues.

Cooper said they would make sure occupiers interests were “fearlessly defended” but urged occupiers to continue to stay within the law while they could work on their case.

“Right down to smallest degree you have followed the legal advice you have been given, and you have become respected for it.“

Cooper told the Occupied Times he was “very interested” in how the City had worded its eviction notice, and said ownership of the land was a contentious issue.

My clients were accused of health and safety breaches when this started and that was entirely wrong, we need to check everything.”

When asked by a camper if there was any chance the police might “jump the gun” and forcibly evict occupiers before the case went through court, Todner said it was unlikely as long as the campers “remain within the law.”

“The only way the police could forcibly remove you is if there was a public order incident and as far as I know there hasn’t been any.”

Cooper and Todner were representing the occupation at no charge.

Cooper told the Occupied Times he was doing this as it is “an example of how the legal profession do have a social conscience and it’s just me perhaps expressing that conscience.”