#occupydemocracy’s third occupation of Parliament Square links escalating homeless and housing crises with our broken democracy
- Protestors prevented from entering Parliament Square
- Former Liberal Democrat Vice Chair Donnachadh McCarthy arrested for third time
- Social housing campaign groups Focus E15 and Our West Hendon visit occupation
- 17 hour bermuda shorts protest outside Downing Street highlights fuel poverty
Parliament Square was back behind fencing this weekend, 20-21st December as Occupy Democracy’s third occupation took place as part of the protestor’s commitment to return peacefully to Parliament Square once a month until May’s general election. Protestors breached the low level fencing on Saturday evening in order to exert their right to protest outside the Houses of Parliament. The police responded by circling the protestors in an operation involving around 100 officers with a double kettle and the threat of arrests while occupiers continued their programme of talks and discussions.
“We are here to protest against our broken democracy, and find it somewhat ironic that protest in Parliament Square itself has been effectively made illegal,” said Occupy Democracy supporter Mary-Ann Taylor.
Campaigning groups Focus E15 mothers and Our West Hendon visited the two-day occupation to deliver talks about their battles to keep hold of their social housing tenancies. Keeping with the occupation’s theme of housing and homelessness, Occupy Democracy stood in solidarity with their campaign for “social housing not social cleansing” and heard stories of fighting evictions, including one of the campaigners who was issued an eviction notice the day before her son was due.
Other speakers included Green Party deputy leader Shahrar Ali and on a festive spin to the occupation, the campaigning choir Shell Out Sounds held an alternative carol service, and climate campaigners performed a nativity play written to support the fossil fuel divestment campaign.
Occupy Democracy supporters used the protest to develop and new demands related to housing to add to the movement’s growing list . The group agreed demands for reintroducing rent controls, repealing the law criminalising the squatting of unused residential properties and using these vacant buildings to house the homeless.
Former Liberal Democrat Vice Chair Donnachadh McCarthy arrested for third time
Former high-ranking Liberal Democrat whistleblower and pro-democracy campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy was arrested yet again on Saturday night – the third time he has been arrested as part of #occupydemocracy. He was holding a tarpaulin banner demanding that Nick Clegg be arrested for selling stolen peerages.
McCarthy, author of “The Prostitute State: how Britain’s democracy has been bought” said: “It is hugely symbolic of the failure of Britain’s democracy that the person seeking the arrest of the Deputy Prime Minister for selling peerages, is the person arrested whilst peacefully protesting at Occupy Democracy.”
Bermuda shorts protest outside Downing Street highlights fuel poverty
In a parallel protest, Fuel Poverty Action & Occupy campaigners braved the harsh winter temperatures wearing only Bermuda shorts for 17 hours outside Downing Street to highlight the 1 in 10 households suffering from fuel poverty this Winter  and to raise awareness of the 65 people dying per day throughout winter in the UK due to cold homes .