Hackney Marshes ‘Austerity Games’ fails to impress council

A demonstration in the form of a sports day to raise awareness of problems faced by young people was hailed a success by organisers, despite Hackney Council’s attempt to shut it down.

Campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs held their Austerity Games on Hackney Marshes on July 23.

The games, which included events such as student debt weightlifting, house price high jump and hardship hurdles, were attended by around 100 people.

Suzanne Beishon, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education London organiser, said the event launched the organisation’s manifesto called A Future for the 99%.

“We were pointing to the contradiction that exists between the lavish games and the situation facing young people.”

She said council officials told them they had to leave as the event was unauthorised.

Claire Laker-Mansfield, Youth Fight for Jobs spokesperson, added: “Council officials said we were banned from using the space. It’s a public park so we couldn’t understand why we were banned from it.

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“In our opinion it was clearly a fear about having protests at a time when the world’s media are watching.

“We were highlighting the different ways young people are being shafted by the government and using the Olympics as a way of showing all the different hurdles that young people face getting on in life.

“The Olympics are a great show and we are all in favour of it but at the same time things are not perfect.”

A Council Spokesperson explained: “The event organisers were asked to leave because they didn’t have permission to hold an event at Hackney Marshes. They were contacted a few days before the event to alert them to the fact that they had not requested permission to hold an event at the Marshes.

“The Council has a Parks and Green Spaces Events policy, which details the application process to follow to seek permission to hold events in Hackney’s parks and open spaces. This policy applies all year round.”

The games continued regardless.