Backlash over Occupy tents in Haggerston Park: Hackney Council seeks to evict campers

Town Hall bosses will seek to evict anti-capitalist campaigners from Haggerston Park for a second time in two months after a group returned to illegally set up camp.

In May, around 20 campers set up tents in a wildflower meadow, near the park’s Yorkton Street.entrance, after being evicted from Mile End Park in neighbouring borough Tower Hamlets.

The council took steps evict them, but last month another score of tents appeared in Shoreditch Park after Islington Council evicted the well-publicised Occupy encampment from Finsbury Square.

Now campers, who claim to be spreading awareness of homelessness, have moved back into Haggerston Park, taking over a communal vegetable garden near the BMX track in Goldsmith’s Row.

One nearby resident, who did not wish to be named, says their move has “deprived the community of a much craved green space.”

“I largely support the Occupy movement, especially this group’s connection to homelessness, but I don’t really understand if the whole group shares their message,” he said.

“Their political ideology is confused, and although the full camp consists of approximately 12 occupiers, most leave during the day and use the site purely as somewhere to bed down at the end of the night. I don’t know where they go.

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“This seems like a highly selfish act, the community can’t use the garden but they aren’t there to spread their message and follow their cause, there seems to be no sacrifice in sitting in a picnic area with your mates smoking fogs and chatting,” he added.

The council announced this week the park will become a hub during the Olympics, with a giant screen from July 27 to sporting events.

In September the council hopes to take out an injunction banning illegal trespassers from all Hackney’s parks and open spaces.

An interim injunction was obtained at the High Court last month against one named Traveller family banning them temporarily from camping in the borough’s parklands.

The move came after a cat and mouse chase which saw the family move from one park to another over the course of several months.