Skip to comments.Occupy takes over at key UBS offices in London
Posted on 11/18/2011 5:47:19 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Multinational UBS was under new management yesterday - at least in Hackney.
Anti-cuts activists Occupy London made the surprise announcement that they had seized a four-story office block in Sun Street owned by the Swiss-based "global financial services" giant.
Protesters lounged on windowsills and hung banners out of the windows on a brisk Friday afternoon as police looked on.
It is understood armed officers were briefly called out following reports of a "disturbance" at another UBS office across the road.
However as the site is a private commercial property the activists' trespass is a civil rather than criminal offence, meaning UBS would have to seek an injunction next week before any eviction could take place.
The multimillion-pound complex is now the group's third site across the capital, alongside the original camp in St Paul's Square near the London Stock Exchange and a satellite camp at Finsbury Square in Islington.
Occupy London activist Jack Holburn said yesterday that the UBS heist was a symbolic reaction to Britain's recent spate of home repossessions - further fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.
"Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments - mostly due to the recession caused by the banks - UBS and other financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties."
The takeover was a "public repossession" of one of the companies that crashed the global economy, he said.
Fellow activist Sarah Layler said the aim was to create a bank where people could trade in "creativity rather than cash."
The bank would host a full events programme over the weekend, she said, with child-friendly spaces for local families who had lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to public spending cuts.
But the bank was to be a "non-residential" occupation. Visitors have been asked not to bring sleeping bags, with organisers adding the site was technically not open to the public, but "guests and friends."
A UBS spokeswoman said the company was aware of the situation and were considering further action.
The spokeswoman declined further requests for comment.
The UBS coup comes a day after the City of London Corporation formally launched legal action to evict the protesters from their camp outside St Paul's Cathedral.
Camp legal counsels John Cooper QC and Karen Todner cheered the camp as the cathedral clock's hands inched towards the six o'clock deadline.
Mr Cooper said the camp had won the respect of many in the legal community by following their legal directions - "right down to the smallest detail."
The camp could expect a "nuts and bolts" hearing in the High Court next week, he said, before the real battle began.
Mr Cooper declined to comment directly on the camp's legal strategy, telling the Morning Star he did not want to give the City a headstart.
But Mr Cooper noted that the corporation's notice to the camp complained of an "unreasonable obstruction of the highway." Several protest camps have previously invoked the defence of "reasonable excuse" in obstruction cases, citing the European convention on human rights.
"I'm very interested in how they phrased it, put it that way," he said.
The joke is really on the communists. This new batch aren’t smart enough to figure out that communism cannot survive unless it can feed off of capitalism. Destroying capitalism was a really dumb idea. These aren’t your daddy’s communists. They are just a bunch of dumb bastards.
If it’s private property, I would think it was a criminal offense. But maybe I don’t understand the British statist mindset...
More and more I’m beginning to think that the mindset of the British police is to find any excuse possible to avoid having to confront law breakers.
But maybe I dont understand the British statist mindset...
Implies a “mind”... very doubtful in formerly great Britain.
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