Police remove Occupy London protest camp from Hampstead Heath
An Occupy London anti-capitalist protest camp has been removed from Hampstead Heath after police moved in at 5pm today (Wednesday, June 13).
Less than 24 hours after a dozen protestors wearing V for Vendetta masks set up camp on an old hockey pitch on the Heath, the City of London Corporation sent in officers to remove tents and equipment.
City of London manages the Heath and St Paul’s Cathedral, where the protestors were previously based, and it took action under a bylaw which bans camping on the beauty spot.
A court order was not required, in contrast to St Paul’s, but the corporation highlighted the right to protest was not impeded.
A spokesman for City of London said: “It’s fine for people to protest on the Heath, but what we can’t have is tents, you can’t camp. That’s why we took the equipment but didn’t remove the people.”
The camp was however reportedly empty within an hour of the police operation as protestors moved on.
Occupy London descended on the Heath yesterday night (Tuesday, June 12) to protest against its “growing commercialisation”.
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Tammy Samede, 34, who claimed to have lost her home earlier this year after representing the St Paul’s Cathedral Occupy camp at the High Court, told the Ham&High: “Not happy with attacking the homeless in society, they have now put their tentacles out into the wider community.
“What are they doing on the Heath anyway? They are just gobbling up London’s open spaces. They should let the people have it back.”
Protestors reportedly demanded the Heath should instead be run by the people and it is believed Occupy targeted the green space as it continues to focus attention on the City of London.
Occupy became embroiled in a long stand-off with the corporation over its camp at St Paul’s Cathedral, which was eventually removed in February this year.
But some Heath users expressed concern about the impact of the protest camp.
Michael Hammerson, of the Highgate Society’s Hampstead Heath committee, said: “All this is going to do is damage one of London’s most treasured wildlife sites and it’s not going to achieve anything.
“They are affronting millions of Londoners who value this place and think the City do a good job for Londoners.”