Occupy London – part of the global movement for real democracy aiming to challenge social and economic injustice in the UK and beyond – will join war veterans this Remembrance weekend at St Paul’s Cathedral, to show respect to all those who lost their lives in both World Wars and other conflicts.
“Occupiers, veterans and passersby have been creating hand crafted large poppies which will be displayed throughout the camp as a visual message of respect and reflection. We want to ensure that Occupy London’s response to Remembrance Day is a human response – a response of compassion and awareness,” said Catherine Powell, Occupy London supporter and a member of the Remembrance Day working group. “At the same time, we’ve worked to ensure that activities across the camp coordinate with the Cathedral’s annual events and respect the space for the churchgoers and camp members.”
On Remembrance Day, following the playing of the Last Post, occupiers, veterans and worshippers will together observe the traditional two minutes silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, marking the ceasefire on the Western Front in WWI, 1918. On Remembrance Sunday (13th November), there will be a 90 minute service in the Cathedral beginning at 10.15am and the two minutes silence will be observed by all.
Occupy London will also have an itinerary of events across the weekend, including music, talks and discussion with speakers from the camp and beyond, plus film showings in Occupy London’s Tent City University. These include the UK premiere of The Welcome, a documentary about veterans healing from post traumatic stress, which will be shown at 9pm on Saturday 12th November. As well as the installation of the large poppies, the camp is also creating a Remembrance wall where people can contribute personal messages, photographs and names as a way of remembering lives lost due to wars.
David Walter, a British Army veteran who is also involved in the Occupy London Remembrance Day working group commented: “We’re aware that for some, the symbol of the poppy – red or white – is a political one. As such, in addition to the poppies we’ve made honouring the traditional remembrance of the reality of the loss of lives in war and the human reasons for us to work together towards peace, we’ve also created paper doves – the traditional symbol of peace. We value the principles of human compassion and reconciliation, and feel that on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, there are no divisions, only human beings.”
Occupy London’s Remembrance Day working group brings together people from the camps – near the London Stock Exchange just by St Paul’s Cathedral and at Finsbury Square – and comprises a team of veterans and civilians working together through dialogue and consensus decision-making to honour the day respectfully.