Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/694/13159
Cardiff occupation evicted
Ross Saunders and Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff Socialist Party
After a heroic six-hour stand off, South Wales police physically forced supporters of Occupy Cardiff off their protest site at Cardiff Castle.
Martin Hamilton, Cardiff council's city centre manager, informed protesters that they were in breach of an ancient bye-law, passed in 1875.
Hamilton expressed concern at the damage the camp could do to the lawn, while he stood just a few yards from deep grooves scored in the grass by Wales Rally GB cars. Questions of why big business could camp out on the lawn but Cardiff residents couldn't went unanswered.
Plaid Cymru's Neil McEvoy, deputy leader of Cardiff council, claimed he sympathised with their demands, but unfortunately that sympathy did not extend to allowing the peaceful protest to continue. McEvoy, whose council has passed cuts in jobs and services such as adult social care, ordered protesters to exit the city centre and set up in Callaghan Square, adjacent to the bypass.
Police chief inspector Roger Whitcombe invoked the 1986 Public Order Act. This is the first time this undemocratic piece of legislation - created under Margaret Thatcher's Tory government - has been used to clear an Occupy protest in Britain.
The group resolved to hold firm. The 30-minute deadline stretched to several hours until protesters were shoved from the site.
There were six arrests, including college students and trade union activists. Two people, including a 17-year-old student, have been charged with the other four cautioned.
A protest will be held outside the council's next meeting, Thursday 17 November, 3.30pm at Cardiff City Hall.
Occupation starts in Leeds
Nial Vivian, Leeds Socialist Party
Joining the global 'Occupy!' movement, the occupation of City Square in Leeds started at 9am on 11 November.
Starting small, including members of the Socialist Party, Leeds occupation has already grown significantly and had visitors from other occupations across the country.
The occupation, taking root in a prominent spot around a huge Christmas tree, has struck a chord with Leeds citizens.
"We were just getting massive amounts of support from the public," said Mary, one occupier. "We've only had to go out for tins of soup once, and there are a lot of us here".
One sympathetic woman was even reported as spending much of the night ferrying tea to the occupiers using her bike.
The camp supporters' concerns range from the impact of the cuts to the way that youth have been marginalised by the government.
For more info about Occupy Leeds, how to get involved and support the occupation, visit www.occupyleeds.co.uk
In The Socialist 16 November 2011:
Fighting the cuts
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist - Readers' comments