Fiona Breslin and Jay Vincelli at the Finsbury Square 'Occupy' protest
Published: 18 May, 2012
by PAVAN AMARA
THE last remaining stronghold of the Occupy protest is set to be evicted – on the orders of the Town Hall.
Finsbury Square Occupy, initially supported by Islington Council when it began in late October last year, was slapped with an eviction notice last week.
But activists were this week unperturbed by the eviction threat, saying most of them had already set their sights elsewhere.
Jay Vincelli, 25, who has been living in Finsbury Square since October, said: “When it first started it was very organised, very structured, there were real plans.
"They wanted to turn it into an eco-village. We had committees, a board of people who were in charge, and then that changed.
“At that point Islington Council were very happy to keep us here. They said we had a right to protest and as long as we didn’t disturb the neighbours it was fine.
"Most of the activists had been political people.”
He added: “After St Paul’s closed, a lot of people from there came here.”
Mr Vincelli says that since then the camp has attracted “the most vulnerable people”, including those with mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction.
Fiona Breslin, 23, who moved to Finsbury Square after the St Paul’s camp activists were evicted in February, said: “The problem is we didn’t want to turn anyone away, but we just didn’t have the resources to deal with their needs, which were complicated.”
Activists say most of the original political protesters have left to focus on new secret locations in east London.
The eviction notice states that Occupy residents must leave the land by 4pm today (Friday).
It is estimated that damage to Finsbury Square’s lawn, trees, pathways and flower beds will cost the council £20,000.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “In the protesters’ place, we now see a group of vulnerable and homeless people who would be better cared for elsewhere.
"We have had complaints about alcohol and drug use, noise, harassment and damage to property.
“We wish to see the protest end through a negotiated settlement but, with our community suffering, the time has come for us to begin legal proceedings to remove the camp.”