The anti-capitalist group Occupy London expanded its occupation of the city last night when a dozen protesters took over an empty UBS bank building in Hackney.
The group, which is fighting for social and economic justice, is claiming legal rights to the office space since it has not been in use for several years, said Spyro Van Leemnen, a spokesperson for Occupy London.
“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public,” Jack Holburn, an Occupy London supporter said in a statement. “Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure. We can do better.”
A UBS spokeswoman said they are aware of the situation and taking appropriate action, but UBS has yet to release more information.
Occupy London, which did not remove its tent city from St.Paul’s yesterday despite eviction notices, plans to open a “Bank of Ideas” in the UBS building. It will be open to the public from Saturday and makes use of empty rooms for nurseries, community centers and youth clubs.
The group is creating a schedule of activities to take place in the building, such as comedy from Josie Long and lectures from Palestinian activists.
“The Bank of Ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash,” Sarah Layler of Occupy London said in a statement.
The City of London Corporation is planning to pursue legal action against the protesters to remove the tents from the highways near St. Paul's, a spokesman for the City of London Corporation said last night.