Occupy London held a solidarity demonstration outside the US Embassy today (Tuesday) following the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zucotti Park in the early hours of this morning. Occupiers unfurled a banner reading, “They cannot evict an idea” as police blocked access to the embassy.
Six American citizens from Occupy London wanted to speak to consular officials at the US embassy, to ask why the violent eviction had been able to take place in a country where the rights to free speech and assembly are guaranteed under the Constitution. Despite the initial attempts of police to refuse the five who had their US passports with them access to the embassy, they were eventually granted an audience with a member of the consular team and a representative from the embassy’s press office. They were not, however, granted entry to the embassy itself.
The embassy representatives explained that the evictions of peaceful protesters in New York, Oakland and elsewhere were decisions taken at city level and not by the US federal government. The five asked how it was that the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, could call for countries in the Middle East to respect citizens’ right to peaceful protest while that was seemingly not respected at home. In response, the embassy officials agreed to send a request to the Department of Justice asking them make a statement on the evictions in light of the concerns expressed by Americans abroad.
Adam Fitzmaurice, one of those who visited the US embassy today said: “I want to know why Secretary of State Clinton feels comfortable demanding dictators such as Mubarak and Assad respect and allow peaceful protest while the NYPD, Oakland PD, Denver PD, and others across the US brutally gas, pepper-spray and beat peaceful protesters to suppress dissent.”
Coincidentally, the City of London announced today that they would be restarting legal proceedings against Occupy London under the terms of the Highways Act.