FInsbury Square protest camp leaves bill for �100,000, plus drug needles and lorry loads of waste
Lorry loads of rubbish and containers full of hypodermic needles have been removed following the eviction of protesters from Finsbury Square.
Islington Council contractors are now at work cleaning up the mess left behind and a spokesman said some 19 trucks full of trash and eight clinical waste containers stuffed with needles and other drugs paraphernalia have left the site.
It also emerged this week that the cost of the camp will drain the borough’s stretched finances by well over the estimated �100,000.
About 100 Occupy London campaigners and homeless people were forced out after eight months in the public square by bailiffs who swooped in the early hours last Thursday.
Kim Rarih, who works at coffee stall Joe Bean in the middle of Finsbury Square, said: “People who work around here really miss the green space and are pleased to see the camp go. It was too noisy and too dirty and affected everything around here, particularly our business.”
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Peter Smith, 62, who works for Bloomberg in Finsbury Square, said: “It was just a glorified soup kitchen, they didn’t demonstrate at all, I didn’t know what they were here for.”
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The camp started in October as an extension of the Occupy anti-capitalist protest outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
The eviction went off peacefully between 1am and 3am on Thursday. It followed a High Court order, though one man took to a tree and wouldn’t come down for some time, apparently because he was sketching the scene.
Meditation teacher Catherine Powell, involved with the movement since it started, acknowledged the square had become a burden to those around it but she felt it served a purpose.
She said: “A social network was formed for people who really have not had that before. Lots of homeless people have been helped by Occupy Finsbury Square, including people who have been on the streets since they were 14 and have been helped into rehab.
“I can understand people being pleased to see it go. It’s been a big mess on their doorsteps, but one with a purpose of changing the world.
“I think little miracles have happened in the midst of that mess.”