#OccupyDemocracy – Former Deputy Chair of Lib Dems arrested; occupation with full programme continues


Donnachadh McCarthy, author of ‘The Prostitute State’, former Deputy Chair of the Lib Dems and supporter of Occupy, was arrested last night at the protests at Parliament Square. [1] The arrest happened when more than 200 #occupydemocracy demonstrators descended on Parliament Square, with the aim of creating a peaceful, solutions-focused occupation to highlight the democratic deficit in the UK –  a deficit illustrated by the enclosure of Parliament Square, aggressive policing and farcical restrictions on the right to assemble and protest. [2]

Despite the arrest and ongoing harassment by police a full programme of events continues undeterred this weekend, with talks, workshops and entertainment, featuring Natalie Bennett (Green Party), Donnachadh McCarthy and more. [2] Currently the occupation is situated just by the Supreme Court, adjacent to Parliament Square.

Arrest of Donnachadh McCarthy

Donnachadh McCarthy, commented: “I was arrested for breaking through the cages around Nelson Mandela, as #OccupyDemocracy supporters chanted “Free Nelson Mandela!”
No longer has the Greater London Authority (GLA) directed by Mayor Boris Johnson just fenced off the grass, now the entirety of Parliament Square is cordoned off including all the concreted areas including the statute of Nelson Mandela. The sight of Mandela behind bars again, fenced in, has become a symbol of the democratic deficit being addressed by #OccupyDemocracy.
After his release, Donnachadh said: “I am thankfully free. To be arrested for trying to place a “Free Nelson Mandela” poster on the disgracefully imprisoned statue of Nelson Mandela in Tarpaulin Square (formerly Parliament Square) is something I am proud to have done.  Mandela’s imprisonment by Boris Johnson graphically illustrates his determination to suppress this weekend’s peaceful pro-democracy protest by Occupy Democracy.”
“What further desperate measures will our corporate captured government go to, in order to suppress legitimate peaceful pro-democracy protests in front of what is supposed to be our Parliament? They will not succeed.”
Donnachadh clarified on his arrest: “I personally did not break through the fence – a few people had opened a gap in it and I simply darted through to try and place the poster on Mandela’s statue. I have no idea how many police dived on me to try and prevent me expressing my peaceful protest! But I have no regrets for making it.”

The latest from Occupy Democracy:

“We’re coming together because we want genuine democracy – free from corporate influence – where our voices count.”
“Our votes, so hard won by the struggles of previous generations, have little value if politicians ignore the population they’re supposed to serve.”
“We want to work with a wide range of people and groups, to collectively bring about a democracy that puts people, community and the environment before profits.”
“We work by consensus, have a safer spaces policy and are dedicated to non-violence. Come join us as we #occupydemocracy.”
“We are outside The Supreme Court at the back of Parliament Square, behind Nelson Mandela’s statue. We are strong and we are staying!”

How can I get involved?

  • Drop by and help build the movement for Real Democracy Now!
  • Bring warm clothing and food to share
  • Get involved in the conversation of twitter – follow the #occupydemocracy hashtag
  • If you can’t get down to the Square, get together with your friends and create your own event, action or occupation.

New movement for a revolution in democracy

Last month, when #occupydemocracy occupied Parliament Square peacefully for nine days, the strategic response of the establishment failed in its intended chilling effect – with over-policing to deter numbers from growing and a veritable media silence about the oppression the protesters faced. Remaining peaceful and resolute in demanding their right to protest and assemble, numbers and awareness grew and the focus was kept on the solutions-focused programme of debates, talks and entertainment. Triumphantly, on the final night they agreed a provisional set of demands. [3]
Twitter: #occupydemocracy / @occupydemocracy / @occupylondon


Notes for editors:
[1] Donnachadh McCarthy is the former Deputy Chair of the Lib Dems, author of the new insightful book ‘The Prostitute State’ and an Occupy supporter. You can read more about Donnachadh at http://www.theprostitutestate.co.uk/. Donnachadh has also written an article for the Morning Star about how he became an ‘Accidental Occupier’, just out today: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-92c1-Accidental-occupier#.VHBncjB1-uY


[2] #OccupyDemocracy (http://occupydemocracy.org.uk/) was formed in March as a working group of Occupy London (http://occupylondon.org.uk/) to build a social movement for genuine democracy that is free from corporate influence. Callout for the current occupation, over the weekend of 21-23 November, is available at: http://occupydemocracy.org.uk/2014/11/17/6pm-this-friday-occupydemocracy-to-re-occupy-parliament-square/. The full programme of events for this occupation can be found at http://occupydemocracy.org.uk/2014/11/18/programme-for-re-occupation-of-parliament-square-21-23rd-nov-2014/.


#OccupyDemocracy’s first occupation of Parliament Square, 17-26 October 2014, attracted hundreds of people over the course of nine days – including prominent figures such as Russell Brand, Ken Loach, Vivienne Westwood and Jolyon Rubinstein; politicians such as Caroline Lucas MP, John McDonnell MP, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jenny Jones and Michael Meacher MP; and representatives of dozens of progressive civil society organisations who, in turn represent millions of people, yet have little voice in our democracy.


Groups who sent speakers to to the first occupation in October included: Friends of the Earth, UK Uncut, World Development Movement, War on Want, Fuel Poverty Action, Disabled People Against the Cuts, Defend the Right to Protest, Stop the War, OurNHS, Stroud Against the Cuts, New Economics Foundation, Robin Hood Tax, Green New Deal Group, Platform, Save Lewisham Hospital and One Million Climate Jobs.


Working by consensus decision making, #occupydemocracy has a safer spaces policy and is dedicated to non-violence.



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