Occupy protesters told stint at the Meadows will be short

Liam Allan gets in tune with his new surroundings
Liam Allan gets in tune with his new surroundings
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A NEW Occupy Edinburgh camp is set to be evicted after moving in on the Meadows, it emerged today.

The new camp was set up after the protesters left St Andrew Square after a stay of 100 days and threats of court action.

Protesters Patrick Stevenson, Liam Allan, Andy Knox and Alan Rooney

Protesters Patrick Stevenson, Liam Allan, Andy Knox and Alan Rooney

They now claim to plan an even bigger demo at their new home but moves are already under way to remove them.

Around half a dozen tents were set up near Middle Meadow Walk early yesterday morning.

Protester Liam Allan, 23, a musician from Leith, said: “We’re going to be staying here for as long as possible – we want people to know we are not giving up.”

However, Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city’s environment leader, said: “The council’s position is quite clear – we do not allow camping on the Meadows and we have asked the Occupy Edinburgh protesters to leave. We are currently seeking legal advice and will continue to liaise with the police and protesters.”

The group said it left the St Andrew Square, which is run by Essential Edinburgh, voluntarily to avoid a forced eviction and to avoid wasting public money.

An action by the council would see court officers brought in to forcibly remove protesters.

A spokesman said the Meadows site would be their new “permanent occupation” because it is public land.

Patrick Stevenson, 33, a volunteer who has a part of Occupy Edinburgh since December, said: “The Meadows is not private land – it’s not for a bank to throw us off their land any more. We’re still concerned about the state of the economy and the system and how that system fails to work for the small and weak.”

Members of the group said a zero tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol had been introduced at the camp.

Alan Thomson, owner of Victor Hugo Delicatessen in Melville Terrace, said he would have preferred the demonstrators not to be camped near his business.

He said: “The council have got to bring in legislation that can move the protesters sooner rather than later.

“I believe it takes 28 days by the time the council can serve a notice – why is that still in place?”

But the chairman of the council’s advocacy group on the Meadows, Rev Chris Wigglesworth, told the Evening News he had “sympathies” with the group.

He said: “We are very anxious not to have the Meadows spoiled, and I can’t say I’m thrilled, but I feel Occupy Edinburgh have got everybody thinking about the banks – their protest is understandable.”

Meadows councillor Cameron Rose told the Evening News the local authority would be taking advice on enforcing the rules of the park. He said: “Ignoring democracy and breaking the park rules does not seem to be a good way to start improving the world.”

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “We will monitor the situation at the Meadows, and will deal appropriately with any allegations of criminal behaviour reported to us.”