Occupy Bath protesters leave Queen Square
The protesters who have been camped at Queen Square in Bath have packed up their tents this weekend.
The Occupy Bath group had been in place since the end of October, part of a global movement highlighting international economic unfairness.
It recently moved to the other side of the council-managed land in the centre of the Georgian square to avoid permanent damage to the grass.
The participants, some of whom are students, discussed the logistics of dismantling the camp - which has become a mini tourist attraction in its own right - at their regular general assembly meeting on Thursday night.
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They say they now want to concentrate on the Bath People’s Assembly, a meeting to provide a democratic forum and focus for local residents, which had its first gathering last Friday.
Today, a small group of protesters were clearing away the tents and said they hoped to have the site completely empty by the evening.
Dave, who would only give his first name, a 25-year-old student and shop assistant, has been with the group since the beginning of the occupation and said it was time to focus on more practical issues.
He said: “We want to focus on other projects such as the People’s Assembly and direct action in the area. The camp has been here for some time and it has fulfilled that function. We have got people engaged and involved, but now we want to do something more practical.
“A lot of our time has been spent maintaining the camp, but it could be better used doing more direct work.”
He denied that the onset of the cold weather had influenced the decision to move on.
Mr Stephens said the Occupy Bath movement had received a good response from people in the city, even those who did not agree with what they were doing.
He said: “It has been fantastic. We have had overwhelming support and engagement. Even people who disagree with us have come down to have discussions with us. That has always been the point.”
He added that at its height, there had been 50 people camping in the square.
The group will be holding a seed sowing event next Saturday, to repair any grass that might have been destroyed by the camp, and is also publicising its People’s Assembly meeting on Thursday at the Friends Meeting House, in York Street, at 7.30pm.
A statement posted on the group’s Facebook page said: “The Queen Square camp has been a great success, far surpassing our hopes and expectations and long out lasting our initial 12-day plan. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has shown their support, made donations, or taken the time to join us on camp.
“We continue to stand in solidarity with our friends in occupied cities around the world. The Occupy movement continues to grow day by day and by moving on to our second phase, we hope to show that Occupy Bath is taking a leading role in showing what the Occupy movement is about and what it can achieve long term.
“This is only the beginning.”