Legal proceedings to evict the Occupy London Stock Exchange and Bank of Ideas begin with a public (well, almost) hearing
A tiny courtroom was yesterday the scene of the first of a four day hearing to decide if the City of London can evict the Occupy LSX campsite by St Paul’s Cathedral. At the same time a breather was given to the protesters as the Judge dealing with UBS (which used to mean Union Bank of Switzerland) request to vacate the Bank of Ideas postponed the case till January.
Nobody doubts this is a big legal case, which may establish precedent for other protests for many years to come. Indeed, it is being heard in the imposing building of the Royal Courts of Justice, where walking anachronisms with various kinds of wigs, silk gowns and winged stuffed shirts look, for once, not completely out of place, in fact very fitting with the 1870s Victorian Gothic building.
In spite of the importance and public interest of the case the hearing was taking place in a small courtroom where only about twenty members of the public and journalists were able to witness the proceedings.
The Occupy LSX legal team contended that the City of London Corporation has exaggerated the impact of the protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral by claiming that it is causing serious harm to the area, and that drunkenness, dog fouling and abusive behaviour – the City of London’s argument – could be found anywhere in the capital.
Not far from this courtroom other protesters occupying an empty office complex owned by UBS heard that they will be able to continue using the building for lectures and gatherings at least until mid January when the Court of Appeal will review a repossession order granted to UBS.
This Bank of Ideas, as the protesters have called it, has received important speakers to address, for free, whoever wishes to attend. Together with Tent City University at the St Paul’s site, which has also presented lectures by renowned speakers, are at the core of dissemination of fresh ideas about dealing with the present crisis and the creation of a truly democratic and egalitarian society.