Fasten your seatbelts, we’ve gone international. The following blog is broadcast live from London for a few weeks. Follow our journey via the wonders of the internets. Wot-ho old chaps!
So we made our way towards St Paul’s – not to look at the tourist trap (but what a trap it is to behold) – but to head to Jamie Oliver’s biggest and brightest new restaurant. What intrigued me was prior to leaving Melbourne I was listening to the Londonist Podcast (great weekly podcast for news and weekly events/goings-on in the Capital) and they did a podcast interviewing protesters at #OccupyLondon.
When this movement starting gaining ground worldwide, as usual I waited to see how Australians would interpret this before staging their ‘lite’ version – #OccupyMelbourne. I didn’t have to wait long. A few adults with time to kill and students with even more made their way into the centre of town and put up tents. Then the police came in and forced them to move on. Once they moved into the Gardens it became the farce I was expecting it to degenerate into.
Case in point – they tried loading their tents into a ute when the police came to evict them. This didn’t work as the ute was illegally parked. Then the protesters attempted to dress themselves in their tents to claim it was clothing. The police came in and ripped the tent off the hippy and it became front page news. In the grand scheme of things we are small fry in Oz.
Walking around St Paul’s we entered what has become known as Tent City, the Occupy London movement’s town – and they for sure are not going anywhere. Hey #OccupyMelbourne – this is how to stage a protest.
These guys have been here since the start. They did the research and realised that the best place to set up camp was in the shadow of London’s most famous cathedral where they would be sure that the church would not pick a side and they would be able to reside in relative peacefulness.
Yes, I agree it is a real eyesore, especially for the poor tourists whose best locations for photos have been taken by Tent City. Three senior clergymen have had to resign over the protests taking place right outside their door. Funnily the resignations were due to a mix of commenting negatively on the camp, not agreeing with the London Mayor as to moving the protesters on and commenting positively about the #occupy movement.
In Tent City they have their own library, fully functioning kitchen to feed 500 protesters each meal, a media tent for journalists to visit and compile information, various activities happening each day and daily debates on the steps of the cathedral.
Recently British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to tackle excessive exceutive pay and crony capitalism, which Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens suggested may be an indication that the PM has signed up to Occupy values – Something that the Rangar in charge of Australia would have never done. On January 18th, the High court ruled in favour of the City of London Corporation, giving them the power to order the forcible eviction of occupiers from the St Pauls Camp. A spokes person for the City said they would not further pursue eviction until January 20th, to give occupiers a chance to appeal against the ruling. Sorry – did I read that last sentence correctly. It seem that on the surface they want them to leave but also giving them a decent chance to stay
The question is now where do they go from here? The world is not going to suddenly change for the better, so where do they draw the line, pack up and go home? Only time will tell.