By Mallory Clarkson/London Community News
With City of London workers stringing Christmas lights in trees in Victoria Park on Monday (Oct. 31), some Occupy London activists fear they’ll soon get the boot.
While he doesn’t know what’s going to happen throughout the day, one Occupier says there’s a contingency plan — St. Paul’s Cathedral on Richmond Street.
“This space was created for just this occasion, if the city did bounce us out of the park, we’ve got a fall back plan,” said Art. J, who didn’t want his last name published. “It’s not a place of political asylum, but it’s a place that we don’t have to worry about people who wish to be civilly disobedient in a camp, such as the other one, (or) being picked up in the case of the police do come in.”
The official occupation of the church grounds began Friday (Oct. 28) and there are around three pitched tents. Art said the space was initially provided as a place to rest and eat, while everything else was maintained at the other camp in Victoria Park.
There are currently around 40 tents set up at the original location, which has been occupied since Oct. 22.
While there may be a split as to where the Occupiers are hunkering down, Xivanari Achtavalir, who is also known as Matthew Connell, explained that doesn’t mean there’s a divide in the movement.
“I don’t believe there is any division in the movement because we’re still meeting as a general assembly together, everyone is still congregating together to eat, we’re all having our community time together,” he said. Achtavalir added because of the interactions between police and activists at Occupy movements in the United States, people are becoming “reasonably” fearful of police violence.
“They just want to be able to feel safe,” Achtavalir said. “We just want to be able to create environments where everyone can feel safe.”
He added number of active participants and supporters of Occupy London have been growing, but not necessarily in the expected ways.
“It’s not about even occupying one space, necessarily, although it is in my personal opinion important to occupy a public space,” he said. “A lot of people believe in the occupation of their homes, occupations of their minds.
“This isn’t necessarily about an occupation of one space or two spaces, it’s an occupation that we hope will end up everywhere in everyone’s hearts.”
London Police Services public relations officer, Dennis Rivest, couldn’t confirm if a raid is to take place, but noted the situation is being monitored.