The ‘Occupy Nottingham’ movement has withdrawn from encampment in Market Square in the centre of Nottingham after six months of continuous protest.
Public Interest Lawyers (“PIL”) represented the movement in its defence of the eviction proceedings brought by Nottingham City Council.
The Occupy Nottingham movement successfully showed in their evidence to the court that their camp had been well-run, healthy and safe; that they enjoyed considerable support from local citizens and businesses; and that they were engaged in a dynamic protest against growing inequality, tax injustice and corporate greed. The protestors sought to find grass-roots solutions to these problems through dialogue with the people of Nottingham and to act as the catalyst for change through their ongoing protest. The protestors will now consider how to further their work now that their protest in Market Square has come to a close.
Occupy Nottingham leave Market Square of their own volition. At a court hearing on 5 April 2012 they argued that their rights to protest (enshrined in Article 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights) should be accommodated by the council in the absence of compelling reasons to the contrary. In light of this, His Honour Judge Inglis agreed that the Council was not entitled to a summary possession order sought but that a full trial was warranted. The trial was due to take place from 30th April 2012.
Nottingham County Council has been informed of the camp’s disbandment and its agreement to withdraw the proceedings is awaited.
Speaking today, Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers said:
“The Occupy Nottingham camp has been a focal point for debate in the city far more accessible than the corridors of county hall. I hope that dialogue now continues. The protestors do not contest the court application any further, but their rights of freedom of speech and assembly may sometimes require accommodation of permanent protest. Corporate interests control 99.9% of civic space, it is perfectly proper that the law protects the public’s right to protest in this way.”