Occupy London activists are met by hundreds of police officers as they attempt to carry out a 24-hour sleep out inside Parliament Square.
Around a 100 protesters set up a peaceful protest outside Parliament last month but were surrounded by hundreds of police officers. One of the protesters, who wish to remain anonymous, says: ‘it’s ridiculous to see the number of police officers that are present. We are conducting a peaceful protest and there’s about two police officers for every one protester, it’s absurd’.
The aim of the protest was to raise awareness about the government’s decisions that are affecting the British people and that they are unhappy with the situation.
Police officers were seen pushing protesters away from the barricades reminding them of the Police and Reformers Act, which is a law that was first introduced in 2011 that aimed to limit freedom to protesters.
The law was introduced after a few major protests took place in London, which had attracted a large number of people. Examples include the infamous 2010 student protests and the recent democracy protest, which occurred last month.
The law goes into severe detail about what equipment protestors can use. One of the regulations reads that protesters risk being arrested if they bring sleeping bags, tents or even use an amplified voice enhancer such as a loud speaker during the protest. If they wish to use a megaphone or anything of the sort, they must seek permission from the Westminster council or any other significant authority in London.
The government, it seems, has tried to create a larger conflict by creating these new guidelines but this has not hindered the protester’s motivation as another protest is scheduled in a few weeks.
As protestors arrived with banners, they started to chant “One solution, Revolution!” From that moment, the momentum of the protest started to rise and energy surrounded the square.
There was a standoff as protestors faced incoming cars, black cabs, bike riders and even buses. The police intervened immediately and stood between the angry commuters on the ever-busy A312 route. After roughly five minutes the police were able to take control of the situation and convinced the protestors to return to the pavement. See below to watch the protest captured on video.
The scene caused more police officers to arrive and forced the protestors to take their demonstration elsewhere. A few seconds later, fifty police officers chased the protestors down the street. Alarmed, the protestors started to run further away.
However later, it was evidently revealed that the aim of the police officers was to trap the protestors within a certain perimeter of the square. Eventually they decided to walk around the square to publicise the event but came back with the intent to stay overnight.
Many of the activists shared a similar goal and views in relation to the democratic deficit that is prevalent in the UK. One of the most common reasons was due to the austerity programme the government has put into place. This included benefit cuts, high tuition fees, NHS cuts and disregard for climate change.
In comparison to other European countries such as Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden and Romania who all use less than 5 million tonnes, the UK’s roads fossil fuel consumption is the fifth highest in the EU of gasoline, using up approximately 14 million tonnes and 25 million tonnes of diesel.
These issues have left the public feeling disillusioned about the government, which has caused a downward trend in the electoral turnout. The need to vote has become uncertain as people think it will not make a difference.
There has also been a significant reduction in the amount of young voters, especially since the increase in university tuition fees. The public seem to have given up on democracy and have taken their cries onto the streets.