Nomadic Occupy takes over Hackney’s Haggerston Park

A splinter group from anti-capitalist group Occupy have pitched up 20 tents in Haggerston Park, saying they want to raise awareness of homelessness.

Calling themselves Nomadic Occupy, the group moved in on Sunday.

The campers came together at the St Paul’s protest camp against global capitalism last October, but the breakaway group moved on to Mile End Park in neighbouring borough Tower Hamlets once evicted.

They were evicted again after allegations they damaged a nearby nature reserve to get firewood.

The council has already begun legal action to evict the group which has set up tents on the edge of a pond in a wildflower meadow, near the park’s tennis courts in Yorkton Street.

Spokesman Kay Badibanga said they intend to stay for about a month.

“We intend to visit as many boroughs in London as possible, this is an outreach exercise,” he said.

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“There are some people among us who are homeless, and we are protesting about the way homeless people are being processed in order to get accommodation.

“The objective is to persuade any local authority to give us a piece of land where members of Occupy can occupy and try to be self sufficient without being subjected to questions like, “What have you been doing in the last two weeks to find a job?”

“It’s based on the fact homelessness is a way of life people have adopted, you may ask people how long they’ve been homeless, and they will say 25 years.

“The authorities refuse to accept this is a fact and this is going to continue.”

“There is a good message in it,” added fellow camper Dave Hunt.

“I was homeless for years and when they did give me a flat I just couldn’t deal with it, I didn’t know how to pay gas bills, and because I was doing a bit of work here and there, there wasn’t a steady income.

“It was too much to cope with, and even if you hated your other life you couldn’t deal with that life.”

The group have been given use of the nearby toilets, much to the delight of a jogger passing by.

“That’s fantastic because my dog loves a bit of human poo,” she said.

“I work in public health so that would be my concern.”

A policewoman who passed by to check up on the camp said: We’re just making sure it doesn’t get any bigger than this really.”