Occupy London campaigners move into Hackney office block

Campaigners who have been camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral for weeks announced today (November 18) that they have occupied an abandoned Hackney office block owned by investment bank UBS.

The occupation of the block in Crown Place in Shoreditch is the third stunt pulled by the Occupy London Stock Exchange group - and the first time they have taken over a building.

Activists moved in overnight and now say they have a “legal claim” on the space.

They have previously targeted the land around St Paul’s near the London Stock Exchange and Finsbury Square in Islington.

The building belongs to, but is not occupied by, UBS and no business transactions take place there.

The protesters plan to set up a “bank of ideas” there tomorrow and open the disused offices and meeting rooms to “those who have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to savage Government spending cuts”.

A programme of events has been drawn up, including talks from Palestinian activists and comedy by Josie Long.

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Occupy London supporter Jack Holburn said: “While over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments - mostly due to the recession caused by the banks - UBS and other financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public.”

The occupation will not resemble the St Paul’s Cathedral camp as visitors are asked not to bring sleeping bags because the “bank of ideas” is a non-residential occupation.

The group said drugs and alcohol would be banned.

Activist Sarah Layler said: “The bank of ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash.

“We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

A UBS spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate action.”

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