Yesterday evening (Monday), a number of supporters of Occupy London, campaigners for social and economic justice, staged a peaceful direct action outside the Guildhall, while the new Lord Mayor David Wooton entertained David and Samantha Cameron at his annual banquet. Other guests included Theresa May, the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London.
The peaceful action aimed to highlight the extreme concentration of wealth and power represented at the Guildhall’s flagship event, as in contrast, at the Occupy London Stock Exchange site just by St Paul’s Cathedral, there was a parody event entitled the Banquet for the People.
That small OccupyLSX action of 20-30 people was kettled by approximately 40-50 police officers from the Met and City forces, when a section 14 order was put in place around 9.30pm. Those inside the kettle were informed that failure to disperse before 11pm would result in arrest – which the campaigners complied with. During the kettle occupiers offered the police chocolate cake, which none of them accepted. Legal observers from Green & Black Cross were also present.
In the event, five campaigners were arrested at Guildhall, four under section 14 and one for “assaulting a police officer”. According to legal observers, when people left the area they appeared to be arrested for just being there. It was not violent.
The five people arrested were taken to Bishopsgate Police Station and around 15 occupiers went there to show their support and solidarity for their friends.
It became evident that, despite the wintry weather outside, the duty officers of Bishopsgate Station were not keen to have protesters staying within the police station. It also appears that they were displeased by the presence of the OccupyLSX livestream crew, who had been filming events throughout the evening.
More than 3,000 people from around the world were shocked to see unwarranted force being used, without any warning, against peaceful protesters when they were forcibly ejected from Bishopgate Police Station, when watching the OccupyLSX livestream, which was also syndicated on the Global Revolution livestream.
Two further Occupy London supporters were arrested during the forceful removal from the station, one of whom was attempting to film the incidents with a camera phone. Another campaigner (not arrested) has a suspected broken finger from police using force.
Occupy London has learned that one protester has been arrested on bail, pending a court appearance next week. Their bail conditions prevent them from visiting the Occupy London St Paul’s site so they will, instead, be transferring to Finsbury Square.