Occupy movement in new Bath protest at Royal Crescent
Campaigners from the Occupy Bath group are staging a new protest this weekend at the Royal Crescent.
The local representatives of the movement, which staged an occupation of Queen Square for six weeks last year, moved into Royal Victoria Park in front of the landmark last night.
Their occupation will last until tomorrow, and was preceded by moves by council workers to lock other areas such as the square.
Dave Stephens, a 26-year-old University of Bath student who lives near Julian Road, said they had opted for the location because Queen Square, Pigeon Park and Green Park had been locked up by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
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He said: “Initially we were thinking about going back to Queen Square because that is the place we have made our own in the past, but then we found out it, and other places, had been locked.
“That is the council preventing freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, while at the same time blocking those public spaces for other members of the public, just to stop a small group of people from peacefully protesting.”
Mr Stephens said they had not experienced any negativity from residents or passers-by, and in fact one person who lived in the Royal Crescent had gone down to join them last night.
He said: “We are doing this because we want to get these issues back out in the media and we have been checking Facebook and Twitter and already it is getting people talking.
“We realise being parked in front of the crescent will alienate some people, but we just want to get people talking and debating about these things, even if they don’t agree with us.”
A statement made by Occupy Bath before the tents were pitched said: “The Occupy movement worldwide may have been out of the media lately, but the issues which brought it about are as urgent as ever.
“The current coalition government are slashing social and public services, left right and centre.
“From education to housing, from unemployment to health care, policies are being enacted which will have a profound and long-lasting impact on our city, our country, and our planet.
“Occupy Bath, as was the case when we occupied Queen Square last year, seeks to create a platform for protesting these policies, and for having an open discussion about what direction our society should take.”
At the moment there are eight small tents pitched at the site and Mr Stephens said that at the height of the gathering last night there were about 30 people present.