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Bank of Ideas eviction, Occupy London protestors and media assaulted by bailiffs, Police fail to act and uphold duty of care

 

Early this morning a number of concerning incidents happened affecting Occupy London supporters and media which raise questions about the police’s duty of care and failure to act on it, as well as the actions of the bailiffs – Rossendales – who were employed by investment bank UBS to evict peaceful protesters.

These incidents, which follow a number of previous incidents in the past week during which Occupy London supporters have seen illegal evictions happening, police aggression and violence, raise great concerns for Occupy London as it begins a week in which its Occupy London Stock Exchange occupation by St Paul’s faces eviction.

Here is a video of the final incident involving one of the bailiffs driving his car straight into the media and protesters, having already once driven into people and assaulted a photographer:

Detailed below is a snapshot of the incidents that occurred – further videos and photographs will be posted shortly. If you would like to alert us to any please post the link at

Eviction of Occupy London’s the Bank of Ideas

Just after midnight the Bank of Ideas on Sun Street, the multimillion pound abandoned building owned by Swiss investment bank UBS which Occupy London liberated in an act of public repossession and have been running as a free community and arts space for the public, was evicted. Since the High Court Possession Order came into place at 2pm Wednesday 24 January, the Bank of Ideas has been closed to the public and a team of volunteers have been cleaning.

Signs outside Bank of Ideas. Credit: HeardinLondon

The Bailiffs – Rossendales (High Court Enforcement) – aided by police (City of London and Metropolitan) gained entry to the Bank of Ideas by breaking down the front door using an angle grinder. Around 50 protesters resisted peacefully and left the building shortly after. There were reports that further protesters were inside the building but as of 5am there is no update on this.  The blinds to the ground floor of the building were closed shortly after eviction, the TSG entered the building around the same time.

Earl Street Community Centre eviction

Following this, at Earl Street Community Centre, on the other side of the complex of buildings, also owned by UBS, around 70 Occupy London supporters gathered in solidarity with those inside.

Occupy London supporters and others outside Earl Street Community Centre. Credit: HeardinLondon

Police and bailiffs stormed the gathered crowd at 1.30am pushing through with a live angle grinder with protesters reporting assaults – this is particularly concerning given the fact that the bailiffs were not wearing any identification which they are required to by law, and even when asked would not present it. A Section 60 was put in place at around 2am, which requires people to not cover their faces – police refused to ask the bailiffs to comply with this and remove their balaclavas.

Inside the Earl Street building, protesters allege assaults by the police. Protesters were brought out peacefully and were allowed to take their belongings with them.

As the events were scaling down, at around 4am, one of the bailiffs who was being asked by journalists about the lack of identification, assaulted a photographer by punching him in the face, then got into his car and drove straight into a number of protesters and media at speed.

Having then taken a dead end, the bailiff ended up back in front of the media and protesters who tried to prevent him from leaving, at which point he accelerated into the crowd carrying one protester on his bonnet for 50 – 100 yards.

Throughout these incidents media and protesters requested the police take actions in regards to the crimes which were clearly being committed.  At one point the police removed the keys from the driver of the car, only to return them to him, at which point he immediately accelerated into the crowd.  The police actively cleared the path for an alleged criminal to leave a crime scene and refused to take crime reports from those that had been assaulted.

Occupy London seeks to understand why the police protected a violent aggressor who had committed crimes in front of them and failed in their fundamental care of duty to the public.  We are also gravely concerned that the police’s actions this morning demonstrated a greater concern for the well being of a building than the safety of the public. We look forward to  receiving a formal response.

We understand that this morning’s incidents have been reported to Shepherdess Walk police station and we would urge anyone that witnessed the events to report them.

 
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