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#OccupyLSX is a peaceful protest and deserves a hearing

This has been a peaceful protest, and it should be approached on that basis. City Hall has a duty to accommodate those who wish to protest in London and ensure their safety whilst ensuring the London does not grind to a halt. No one wants or expects there to be permanent camps – all protests have a beginning and an end – but the scale of the problems ordinary people are facing mean these international protests are inevitably not yet over.

It is completely unsurprising that some people are going to protest: in modern Britain directors’ pay is soaring but ordinary people are losing their jobs, seeing their services cut, and being hit with higher fees, fares and VAT. The top one per cent is doing well, the rest are being squeezed. One in ten Londoners are out of work, fares are going through the roof, hospitals and NHS services are under threat. Last week’s figures on top directors’ pay add to the powerful feeling of unfairness. The Mayor of London’s office has wildly misjudged this issue, making the Occupy movement the enemy but failing to act on public concerns about jobs and growth. Conservative London actually stands for more unfairness, demanding a lower top rate of tax for the richest. That’s not surprising in a city where the mayor meets bankers more than the police.

The City must give more back to the wider London community that hosts it. Demands for charitable donations from bankers are inadequate. They have not addressed London’s deep inequalities and the need to get a balanced economy

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