Overnight in Parliament Square eight #occupydemocracy protestors prepared to commit an act of non-violent civil disobedience in support of their campaign to highlight the growing democratic deficit (1) in this country by lying down to sleep in sleeping bags on a tarpaulin in Parliament Square (2).
Tarpaulin has become the iconic symbol of the #occupydemocracy protest since their occupation of Parliament Square started at 5pm on Friday 17th October. London Police have been insisting that recent restrictions on the right to protest (3) mean that sitting on a tarpaulin is itself breaking the law. On Saturday and Sunday night police spent a substantial amount of tax payers money in violently (4) trying to confiscate the tarpaulin that protestors were sitting on. On Sunday night 140 officers were counted in opeartion “take the tarp”.
One of the eight protestors taking part in this act of non-violent civil disobedience, Claudia Grigg-Edo, said:
“We don’t know how the police are going to react but we are prepared to be arrested if that’s what it takes to raise the alram about how rotten our democracy has become and to carve out a space for a debate about what needs to be done.”
#occupydemocracy supporter George Barda said:
“We’ve had to face immense torment from the police who are making it as unpleasant as they can for us to be here. In spite of everything we are committed to remaining on the square and building a new movement for radical democratic reform. We want a government that serves the interests of the 99% – not just corporations, banks and a tiny wealthy elite. We have a great programme of speakers lined up for the rest of the week. Come down and help us build popular pressure for change.”
John McDonnell MP tables Early Day Motion in Support of #occupydemocracy
Labour MP John McDonnell will table an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons tomorrow morning calling on the authorities to allow the Occupy movement its democratic right to protest.
(1) In their 2011 report Unelected Oligarchy, the think tank Democratic Audit detailed how: “Corporate and financial elites have inserted themselves into the heart of government over successive administrations, and … continue to exercise a predominant influence over it – through the financing of political parties, think tanks and lobbying organisations, membership of advisory bodies, ‘revolving doors’ and joint partnerships with government.” http://filestore.democraticauditarchive.com/file/de232c951e8286baa79af208ac250112-1311676243/oligarchy.pdf
(2) Footage of the ceremony involving laying the tarpauline and people getting into sleeping bags can be found here: http://bambuser.com/v/5013501 (please do not use without contacting us first).
(3) Provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 seem to have been particularly designed to target the Occupy movement and their use of tents as an effective form of protest.
(4) Police officers were witnessed using choke holds on protestors. The whole operation was recorded by citizens “live streaming” the event. Here is a three minute film by one supporter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v (please do not use without our permission).