Global equality campaigners occupying a square on the fringes of the City of London financial district must leave their camp by May 18 or face legal proceedings.
The protest encampment, which sprouted from a larger site at St. Paul’s Cathedral, has been served an eviction notice by Islington Borough council and they have a week to remove their tents and makeshift structures from the site.
“We can confirm that we have today served a legal notice requiring the protesters to leave by Friday 18th of May. If this doesn’t happen, then court action will begin,” said Caroline Horrocks, a spokeswoman for the council, in a telephone interview. Similar warnings were posted at the site.
The Occupy Movement began in September, when protesters took up residence in New York’s Zuccotti Park to highlight the plight of Americans who suffered even as the largest U.S. banks recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.
The London council estimated the damage to trees, pathways and flower beds at the square at 20,000 pounds ($32,100), according to the eviction notice. There were 19 telephone calls to emergency services regarding the square in February and March, mostly about disturbances and noise, the notice said.
“In all likeliness we will be leaving peacefully,” said Roy Adams, a spokesman for the camp, by telephone today. “We will continue the battle elsewhere.”
Occupy London protesters have cost the City of London and its police authority more than 1.1 million pounds in legal and monitoring costs, according to information obtained by Bloomberg in a Freedom of Information request. Bloomberg LP’s European headquarters are located on Finsbury Square.
“The Council has said from the outset that we support the right to peaceful protest, and we have tolerated Occupy’s presence at Finsbury Square since October,” councilor Paul Convery said in a statement. “However, it is now apparent that the character of the protest has changed and Occupy’s presence is significantly diminished. In the protester’s place, we now see a group of vulnerable and homeless people who would be better cared for elsewhere.”
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