The worldwide movement known as Occupy has camped on the grounds of Bournemouth University in a bid to begin talks with Chancellor Lord Philips.
The Bournemouth Occupy movement hope to discuss the protesters’ appeal application, which was turned down by the Court of Appeal, with Lord Philips who is UK Supreme Court President.
The Occupy St Pauls protest was evicted from the site on the 28 February in a move which members are claiming was illegal.
Occupy member Alex, 26, explained why they had taken up residence on the grounds of Bournemouth University. “We wanted to ask him a couple of questions”, he said.
“Firstly, our eviction at St Pauls, which we are still questioning the legality of, we want to ask why do we have a supreme court of justice if we are not allowed to have an appeal in it.
“Also, We’re trying to put together a set list and have a public general assembly and just get his viewpoint on the law of equality.”
So far, the movement have not heard back from the Councillor about the chance for a meeting but said they have made sure he knows that they are there.
The Occupy protesters have had contact with members of staff at the University and have said that as so far, communication between the groups have been cordial. Alex said: “Obviously they disagree with us being here, they politely disagree. They are prepared to go through the proper channels, they have always been civilised with us.
“It is now in the hands of Bournemouth university lawyers, so we’re speaking to be served with a court date or papers or something within in next few days.”
However, the peaceful protest hasn’t been without incident: Fireworks were set off over the weekend at the campsite and the University has responded by putting a lock on the gate. Alex responded to this development saying: “We are publicising a video with Stuart, Bournemouth’s head of Facilities, today. He came up just to say for everybody’s safety he would be locking the gate at night.”
Alex did say that the incident didn’t involve members of the protest, but that: “obviously he has a duty of care not only to the university but to anybody on campus. We fully respect his decision on that.”
The camp has already began to grow since Friday with protesters saying that even today two University students have arrived and set up camp with the movement in a show of solidarity for the cause.
Alex did suggest that if the protest comes to Court then there would be disagreements on who rightfully owned the land and whether any eviction would be legal. He said: “Directly outside the site there is a sign that says ‘Welcome to Poole’ so if your on one side your technically in Poole, over here your technically in Bournemouth which is two different councils.
Plus where does the campus start and common land end? Is the fence in the right place? Because if it proves the University or Council does not own the land, then potentially we could stay. When we go to court, which inevitably we will, we would like to see document and original proof of who owns the land.”
The worldwide Occupy movement has gained a lot of media attention throughout the world, both negative and positive. The University Occupy protest says that the local media has been welcoming to the cause, saying: “The Echo has given us some fantastic press and I think their actually now listening to why were doing it and giving the people of Bournemouth the true picture of why were here.”
The Occupy movement began in New York in protest of the world’s wealth being unfairly distributed. Over time, the movement has grown to be a worldwide global protest with no intention of slowing down any time soon.
Audio interview can be heard here:
- Occupy group in plea to Law Lord (bbc.co.uk)