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Islington Council is taking legal action against the protesters and homeless people in Finsbury Square after they failed to leave.

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The council will begin formal proceedings to “regain possession” of the public square after the occupiers flouted a legal notice requiring them to be out by 4pm on Friday.

It said homeless people will all be offered “somewhere they can go”.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The council has consistently supported the right to peaceful protest and we have tolerated Occupy’s presence at Finsbury Square.

“Many of the Occupy movement members have said that they will leave the square and are making preparations to do so. I thank them for that and now ask them to honour that promise. They also offered to remove graffiti and restore the park as best they can. Again, this would be welcome. The council faces deep and ongoing cuts to its budget from central government, so if the protesters leave the site voluntarily they will save Islington taxpayers from shelling out.

“There are a number of vulnerable and homeless people currently living in the square. The council aims to speak to each and every one of those people to offer them somewhere they can go.”

The camp was started as an anti-capitalism protest in October.

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