Eviction of Finsbury Square Occupy protesters could cost Islington Council £100,000
PUBLISHED: 10:17 25 May 2012
The huge cost of evicting Finsbury Square protesters has emerged as some occupiers vowed to stay until the bitter end.
The council launched court action to regain the land after demonstrators ignored its request to leave before 4pm last Friday.
It will now seek legal permission for eviction, which could cost up to £100,000.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The administration faces ongoing cuts to its budget from government, so if the protesters go voluntarily they will save Islington taxpayers from shelling out.
“Many Occupy members say they will vacate and remove grafitti and restore the park. I ask the group to honour this promise.”
The City of London Corporation says it cost “just under £1million” to remove protesters from St Paul’s Cathedral.
Several Finsbury Square occupiers suggested they would stay until forced out.
One protester, Mark Unsworth, 19, said: “Most Occupy sites were evicted forcefully so we want to stay and show solidarity.
“Some may leave but others will continue to exercise their right to protest.”
Another resident, Johnny Remoap, 23, said: “This last toehold is surrounded by large banks and people are still willing to take a stand.”
In late October the Finsbury Square camp sprang up as an overspill from the St Paul’s protest.
A 45-year-old Occupy member, who did not want to be named, said: “We used to have a night watchman, rules and everyone had jobs on camp. When St Paul’s ended we have had people with drink and drug problems and the situation has become unacceptable.
“A lot of the guys have nowhere else to go. But with the banking situation in Europe, our message is even more potent today.”
Cllr Convery insisted that the council would help all the vulnerable and homeless people living in the square.
One protester, Malcom Blackman, said the council had “bent over backwards” to accommodate them.