I spoke with Mike Roy at 3:30 this afternoon about Occupy London, which is facing an eviction deadline of 6PM today. As I write this, Occupy London is having a General Assembly to decide how they will respond to the eviction order. Mike Roy is a participant in Occupy London, and is also a member of the media team of Occupy Toronto.
UPDATE: I received a text from Mike at 6:23 "Got about 500 people here! Sid Ryan is here and lots of solidarity. Brings a tear to my eye".
UPDATE: Occupy London was evicted at around 1 AM. Details to follow.
Megan: How has occupy London been going in general?
Mike: Its going really good in a lot of ways, we have several facilitation and direct democracy workshops planned, and a supposedly a rally for Saturday. the reason why I’m saying supposedly is because we had an eviction notice tonight. That is going to be discussed at the 4 pm general assembly. we have a few proposals that individuals are looking at making a possible relocation. One problem is that one of our options has fallen through, the option to go to the church. Apparently for liability or insurance reasons, they can’t cover us any longer . And that happened on the same day as the eviction notice
Megan: The same day? That sounds a little suspicious.
Mike: Its just weird, its kind of a slap in the face. I understand its private property and that’s part of the reason why I personally didn’t want to go there. But now that’s off the table anyhow.
Megan: In Occupy Vancouver they’ve been citing public safety as the reasons the for the shut down, what are they citing as the reason for the eviction in London?
Megan: So just Trespassing with no pretense of public safety?
Mike: It seems that way. I don’t have the document on me. We have our safe space which is awesome, we have a tent for females, the Shine the Light people for abused women gave us a sign to put up on a tree. The safe spaces here are really working and we have a lot of good people, good food, we have a warm committee room and good dialogue.
Megan: All of these occupations fall into a local political context, how does the eviction order play out regarding the political context of activism in London?
Mike: Most of the London activists are either down here or involved in helping out so there are participating very well its been exceptionally good. All the different groups of people are getting along very well, we’ve have police relations plainclothes officers come through twice a day and relations with them have been really good. Better than with the city it seems. Although they’re powerless to actually do anything. They actually helped us have a dialogue with the city at one point they brought two city people down to talk so they’ve [the police] actually been helpful which is surprising
Megan: What kind of support are you getting from the general London community?
Mike: It seems that about half the people, maybe a little bit more, are non activists. concerned citizens that have come down.
Megan: How many people do you have there on a normal day?
Mike: About 45 tents, probably a regular 25-30 sleepers and then during general assemblies or marches we have about 150- 200 people. Around 50 right now (at 3:30)
Megan: What plans are there to deal with the eviction order?
Mike: My own personal plan would be to go to another park, like say Campbell’s’ Park where they got the trinity project started. We have some of the original people from that now, they are lending their knowledge base to us. Its in a high traffic area but its a park that’s not utilized much at all.
Megan: What can people do to support Occupy London?