Statement from OccupyLSX
OccupyLSX was surprised to hear The Telegraph and others reporting this morning that 90% of our tents are empty overnight. This is simply not the case. We try to keep vacancy to a minimum and operate a sign in/sign out system to help ensure this happens. When someone knows they will not be staying overnight, they offer their tent to someone else.
We are ordinary people with jobs and families. We are occupying in order to register our objection to being shut out of the political process. The fact that we are camping out here shows how seriously we take our right to participate and be heard. We are part of the 99%.
It’s certainly interesting to hear that the Corporation of London are wasting many thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in monitoring our numbers by helicopter. But what about the “thermal imaging cameras”? We might be in a public space, but these tents are our homes – at least some of the time – and everyone has a right to privacy.
Being woken up in the middle of the night by a journalist with a camera is an unpleasant experience, and even more so for a female sleeping in a tent alone. The Press Team is happy to facilitate interviews at all hours of the night (we had Radio 5 Live broadcasting from 1am to 5am the other day), but we do ask that such requests go through us on this number 0845 299 6175. Our volunteers will do their best to help.
A “nine out of ten tents are empty” statistic is completely unfounded. Finally, these are the facts of what happened on the night of Monday, 24 October.
The journalist in question was found by our Tranquility Team (night-time volunteers who look after the peace of the camp and who keep it ship shape in the twilight hours), shaking the tents of occupiers, who initially thought they were police and understandably approached them to enquire what was happening. The journalist explained that he was investigating a claim that tents were empty at night, and argued that it was correct to check this claim. Our team asked if he planned to approach every tent in this manner (as people were asleep) and invited him to select 5 tents and they would facilitate this approach. The journalist refused. And now it seems to be a story.
In keeping with our statement, we stand in solidarity with occupations across the world. As we have seen in Melbourne and Sydney recently, occupations, no matter how peaceful and serene – as ours is – are constantly vulnerable to harassment and intimidation. Occupy London (LSX) is a peaceful place, with an open door to visitors and passersby who wish to engage in the politics of the camp. We are now occupying in two locations. We’re here 24 hours and we’re here for serious reasons. We appreciate the warmth and support we experience daily, from tourists, from local businesses and city workers, who agree with us, that we have an unsustainable financial system and that we need change.
Please direct any further enquiries to the Press Team on 0845 299 6175 or firstname.lastname@example.org