Occupy Norwich protesters agree to leave Hay Hill
Archant Norfolk Copyright
The protesters who have been camped in Norwich’s Hay Hill for almost four months have agreed to take down their tents and move on.
City council officers last week issued an ultimatum to the Occupy Norwich campaigners to leave the city centre site or risk legal action.
And following a meeting at City Hall yesterday afternoon, the protesters have agreed that they will remove their tents, although they say their campaign is not over and have yet to give a date for when they will depart.
The Occupy Norwich protesters have been in Hay Hill since October as part of the same protest which saw campaigners camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The group pitched tents on the square, close to McDonald’s and Next, displaying posters and placards protesting against bankers, capitalism and the unfairness that so much of the country’s wealth is in the hands of a small percentage of people.
The city council’s enforcement officers served a notice on a single sleeping protester last Wednesday, giving the group until Friday to leave the site.
The group did not leave and the city council threatened legal action, which led to a meeting between campaigners and council officers at City Hall yesterday afternoon.
At that meeting the city council offered the protesters use of a stand at Hay Hill, but said they would have to take down the tents.
A spokeswoman for Occupy Norwich described the meeting as “very positive and constructive” and said they would be moving on as soon as they can make necessary arrangements for the removal of the tents.
The spokeswoman said: “During the last four months the Occupy movement has raised awareness of global problems and has also found broad agreement across society, both locally and globally, that these urgently need addressing: Inequality, unsustainabilty and dysfunctional democracy.
“Those at Hay Hill have had positive and mutually enriching conversations with literally thousands of people during this time.
“The General Assembly of Occupy Norwich has agreed by consensus that the camp should be brought to a close, however its removal in no way signals the end of Occupy Norwich.
“The council’s request for the camp to leave has come at a time when the Global Occupy movement is moving on from continuous camps to a new phase of wider community and direct actions, educational projects, and a continued public forum for discussion.
“We are thankful to Norwich City Council and the people of this fine city for their support in our peaceful use of Hay Hill as a public space for engagement. We also thank Norfolk police.”
She added the group would move once they have made necessary arrangements to take the tents away.
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “Although the matter remains in the hands of our solicitors, we very much want them to leave voluntarily.
“We are willing to offer the protesters the use of a stall at the front of Hay Hill for two days a week, subject to existing bookings.
“However, this will depend on them ceasing their unlawful occupation and clearing the site of all the tents and structures.”
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