Occupy London camp served court order by Tower Hamlets to shut down

19:02 08 May 2012

Occupy London camp at Mile End Park

Occupy London camp at Mile End Park

Carmen on shift

Court officers have served notices this-afternoon to get an Occupy London protest camp closed down that was set up in a public park.

It follows allegations that members of the camp which was set up five weeks ago at east London’s Mile End Park have damaged a nearby nature reserve to get firewood.

Complaints have been made to police by Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, who run London’s biggest urban nature reserve, that trees have been damaged.

Tower Hamlets council is now taking court action to have the campsite closed down.

It served papers on the camp protesters today after issuing a claim at Bow County Court on May 2.

The case is being heard in the morning (Weds), when the authority will ask for an order for the camp occupiers to give up possession of the parkland. The council promises, if successful, to move quickly to enforce the order to get the occupied parkland back.

But it has come in for criticism from Opposition leader Joshua Peck, who said: “The police and council should have acted much quicker. The camp has caused a lot of disturbance and damage—it’s outrageous that it’s been left so long.”

The camp protesters originally asked for firewood from the Friends organisation that looks after the nature reserve and were allowed to take only discarded timber that could not be recycled.

But cemetery managers soon discovered several sycamore trees had been damaged.

Ken Greenway, the nature reserve’s full-time officer, said: “Originally we agreed they could harvest some wood responsibly—but later found at least six sycamores damaged and have had to report it to police.”

He added: “These protesters against global capitalism are behaving like the banks they criticise—they want wood, so they just take it, whatever we say. It’s a shame.”

The damaged sycamores are “a value to invertebrates and birds” which the Cemetery Friends say help make up the woodland structure.

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