The good, the bad and the ugly faces of global Occupy protest

From clashes in London and New York, to a chat and an amicable agreement in Edinburgh – the authorities could not be more different in their handling of the anti-capitalist demonstrators

SCOTLAND: Protesters have agreed to move to the side of the square they are occupying in the centre of Edinburgh to make way for the city’s Christmas celebrations.

The marquee where the Occupy demonstrators hold their nightly meetings will be temporarily taken down – as will the placards that currently adorn the Melville Monument in the centre of St Andrew Square. Two empty tents are also due to be removed.

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Essential Edinburgh has agreed to provide storage for the banners and the marquee to allow room for Christmas decorations, lights and a stage to be erected over the festive period. The camp will go back to how it was when the festivities end on 4 January.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between the protesters and Essential Edinburgh chief executive Andy Neal on Wednesday evening.

Mr Neal attended the nightly General Assembly held in the camp to speak about his organisation’s wishes and to take questions from the floor over the proposed agreement.

“We had a good, constructive meeting, and we decided that the tents would need to be moved. We decided where the area they would move to would be,” he said.

“The relationship is one conducive to finding negotiated settlements to whatever issues there may be.” He added: “We will work towards a win-win solution, as there is goodwill on both sides. Temporarily, this is win-win, but we will take things one step at a time.”

Occupy Edinburgh member Mike Ferrigan said: “We overcame many issues together, with various off-site meetings. We totally and utterly respect the right of Essential Edinburgh to hold traditional Christmas events.”

He added: “From day one, our relationship has been very constructive and collaborative in terms of all issues related to the camp. We have acceded to all requests made and this has been very positive up to this point”

So far, in Edinburgh, the police have not been involved in the movement’s presence.

A spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police continue to monitor and facilitate an ongoing demonstration in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square.”

Meanwhile, Occupy has garnered the support of Edinburgh city council’s Green Party, which is to put a motion to the full council on 24 November, which will call for government bodies to recognise the protesters’ message.

“The news that Occupy Edinburgh have negotiated an agreement that allows them to stay is welcome,” said Green councillor Steve Burgess. “It shows that Occupy care about their neighbours and they’re willing to cooperate.

“Given what’s happened in New York and elsewhere it’s surprising that the relationships can be so good.”

However, 50 miles along the M8, things are not quite so harmonious. In Glasgow, a breakaway group of protesters has set up camp in Blythswood Square after being moved on from their original city-centre site a fortnight ago.

A group of around 50 protesters moved from George Square to Kelvingrove Park after Glasgow City Council forced them to vacate the original camp.

The protesters claimed the second camp had been set up to show solidarity with other Occupy protests across the world.

Paddy McManus said: “This is part of an international day of action against the banks. We are going to try to persuade people to move from banks to credit unions.

“It’s also in support of the occupiers being evicted in Oakland, Wall Street and the due eviction in London.”

But Glasgow city council indicated it was not happy with the breakaway camp. A spokesman said: “It’s wrong for a tiny, unrepresentative group to make life difficult for Glaswegians and we urge them to see sense.”

ENGLAND: Anti-Capitalist protesters who have been pitched outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London for weeks defied a deadline to quit the area last night.

Dozens of activists held a minute’s silence, which they called a “silent scream”, before cheering and wiggling their fingers in the air as the 6pm deadline passed.

The City of London Corporation, which owns much of the land on which the 200 tents were pitched a month ago, will now begin legal proceedings in the High Court.

The order applies to public land – while territory owned by the church is not covered by the notice. But some protesters said they were “not planning on going anywhere” and many notices have been ripped off tents.

The eviction notice is addressed to “each and every person taking part in and/or having erected tents or other structures at St Paul’s Cathedral”.

If the protesters refuse to clear the area specified in the notice, the corporation said it would begin legal proceedings at the High Court to seek their eviction.

After the deadline passed, a spokesman said: “We have been in talks with the protesters. We have been yet to reach a suitable agreement. We therefore have decided with some regret that we need to resume legal action. The communication channels are still open but now in parallel with the court action.”

Naomi Colvin, a spokeswoman for Occupy London, said: “We’re not planning on going anywhere soon and certainly not at the behest of the City of London Corporation.

“We’re not remotely concerned about legal action. We are aware of our legal position, the likely time frame and we have a great legal team on board. Why would we possibly be worried?”

One protester Nathan Cravens said: “The general feeling is excitement at the moment. It’s brought us together.”

“Occupy is an idea and you cannot evict an idea,” another protester Ronan McNern said.

A statement from the Chapter of St Paul’s said: “We recognise the local authority’s statutory right to proceed with the action it has today.

“We remain committed to continuing and developing the agenda on some of the important issues raised by the protest.”

AMERICA: Scuffles between police and protesters failed to stop the New York Stock Exchange from opening on time yesterday as hundreds of people marched on Wall Street in an attempt to block traders from reaching their place of work.

Protesters mingled with workers as officers tried to implement a policy of allowing only those with legitimate company IDs through, but the bottleneck allowed protesters to inform some employees that the financial district was closed.

The action came two days after authorities cleared the encampment that sparked the global protest movement against economic inequality and greed.

Frustrations seemed to spill over shortly afterward in the park at the centre of the protest as hundreds of people shoved back the metal police barricades that have long surrounded the area.

Live television from above showed waves of police and protesters pushing back and forth.

“All day, all week, shut down Wall Street!” the crowd chanted, clogging the streets as they neared the stock exchange.

Police arrested several protesters who were sitting on the ground one block from Wall Street and refusing to move. It is thought that about 50 or 60 people were arrested in total.

The clash was part of a day of action in cities cross the world planned before New York’s authorities clamped down on the two-month-old encampment in Zuccotti Park, clearing out tents and sleeping bags. Similar camps have sprung up across the US but face increasing pressure from local authorities, who point to health and safety concerns.

“This is a critical moment for the movement given what happened the other night,” said Paul Knick, 44. “It seems like there’s a concerted effort to stop the movement, and I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“Someone brought a box of donuts for the cops. No takers but the cops smiled,” the New York Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter.

Passer-by Gene Williams, a 57-year-old bond trader, joked that he was “one of the bad guys” but said he empathised with the demonstrators.

“They have a point in a lot of ways,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, there is a schism between the rich and the poor and it’s getting wider.”

The New York group announced it would rally near the stock exchange, then fan out across Manhattan and head to subways, before gathering and marching over the Brooklyn Bridge.

The confrontations followed early-morning arrests in Dallas, Texas, where police evicted dozens of protesters from their campsite near City Hall, citing public safety and hygiene issues. They arrested 18 protesters who refused to leave.

In Los Angeles, about 500 sympathisers of the Occupy Wall Street protest marched in the downtown financial district, chanting: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”