Thursday, December 29, 2011

Occupy London protesters take over Shoreditch courthouse

The Hackney Gazette

Thursday 29 2011

Anti-capitalist protesters have moved into another disused Hackney building after taking over the old Shoreditch courthouse in Old Street.

Members of the Occupy London movement have already set up the ‘bank of ideas’ inside a UBS office block in Sun Street.

But the group - including ex-servicemen called the Occupy Veterans - have now settled inside the former magistrates’ court, which has been empty since 1996, after entering the property at 7.15am on December 20.

Protester Ronan McNern said they would be using the courthouse, renamed Occupy Justice, to “put the 1 percent on trial” by inviting people they believed had caused the financial crisis to defend themselves.

“It is not about mock trials, we have qualified solicitors who are volunteering to do these cases,” he added.

Occupy London campaigners are currently embroiled in a High Court battle against the City of London Corporation over their encampment outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

A spokesman for developers Mastcraft Limited, who bought the Old Street property in 2008, said work to transform the courthouse into a luxury hotel was planned to start within the next month.

He said the company was pursuing taking legal action against the occupiers, which they expected to start on January 3.