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The Occupy movement has today been told they must leave Finsbury Square on Friday after almost seven months on the site.

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Islington Council today issued a legal notice to the protesters saying they must leave by 4pm on May 18 or face legal action.

The group have occupied Finsbury Square, in protest at global capitalism, since the end of October.

What began as an overspill from the original demonstration outside St Paul’s Cathedral has outlived its predecessor which was evicted out in February.

Now the Finsbury Square movement, which cost the council an estimated £1,000 a week, is set to end.

In the notice served to the group the council claim it will cost £20,000 to get the lawn, flower beds and pathways back to normal.

They list a detrimental effect to local businesses and regular complaints about protesters urinating in public, lighting fires and abusing passers-by as reasons behind the eviction.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The Council has said from the outset that we support the right to peaceful protest, and we have tolerated Occupy’s presence at Finsbury Square since October. However, it is now apparent that the character of the protest has changed and Occupy’s presence is significantly diminished. In the protesters’ place, we now see a group of vulnerable and homeless people who would be better cared for elsewhere.

“At the same time, residents and businesses in and around Finsbury Square are being significantly inconvenienced by the continuing camp and we have had complaints about alcohol and drug use on site, noise, harassment, and damage to property. The extent of damage at the site means Islington Council now faces a substantial bill for repair and clean-up.

“We wish to see the protest end through a negotiated settlement but, with our community suffering, the time has come for us to begin legal proceedings to remove the camp and return Finsbury Square to community use.”

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