Parliament Square's "Democracy Village": rich in spirit, poor in spelling

As you may recall, this part of the Scrapbook machine ventured to Parliament Square on Friday to see what would happen when the 4pm eviction notice deadline for the protesters there was reached. After chatting with a few people, I realised I had forgotten to charge the camera battery experienced technical problems outside my control, hastily deduced that nothing more would happen and retreated to the pub.

On my return yesterday it became apparent that if I had stuck around a little longer I would have witnessed a sit-in on the road that resulted in “around five” arrests. Speaking today to Democracy Villagers “Dot” and “Raga” (who also featured in The Grauniad) was more informative than my previous chat with “Friend” but – alas – not as amusing. Perhaps it was the Catholic guilt kicking in but I just couldn’t bring myself to mock them:

The protesters are not filled with confidence that their hearing on Friday morning will clear the way to lodge a formal appeal against the evictions. But their determination to stay on, however, doesn’t preclude a respect for a bit of law ‘n’ order.

Shortly before my arrival the Village had held a meeting to discuss how they might deal with resident/visiting alcoholics and the discarded syringes left at night by heroin addicts. Understandably, some feel this gives the Village a poor image, as well as making its citizens feel unsafe.

This raises questions as to divides within the encampment. Last week I reported how a man who, though against the war, didn’t share the Village’s prevailing view on capitalism had been booed off the platform while speaking. Can they call themselves ‘Democracy’ Village if they exercise such censorship? Dot told me that he favoured an open commune and that no one should feel they cannot express themselves as they wish; those with alcohol or drug problems were equally welcome, as they are vulnerable people who would benefit from the atmosphere and environment.

Scrapbook will report live(ish) from Parliament Square following the court hearing on Friday.

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