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Sisters Uncut hit out at Hackney Mayor’s ‘broken promises’ in Valentine’s-themed protest

PUBLISHED: 10:05 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:05 15 February 2017

Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation.

Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation.

Archant

Campaigners for the rights of domestic abuse survivors accused Hackney mayor Philip Glanville of “breaking their hearts” in a Valentine’s-themed protest last night.

Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation.Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation.

Feminist direct action group East End Sisters Uncut claims Mr Glanville has broken promises he made to them last year.

The Sisters occupied an empty council flat in Marian Court over the summer to highlight the lack of safe, secure housing for domestic violence survivors.

They say he failed to fill all the empty units in the block, in Lower Clapton, by Christmas as promised, and that survivors are still being placed in private hostels – despite his assurances they would henceforth be housed in council-run hostels or self-contained accommodation with trained staff.

The group gave speeches and set off purple flares. Messages were projected onto the town hall such as: “How can they leave if there is nowhere to go?”

Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation. Demands projected onto the Town Hall.Sisters Uncut East End protest outside Hackney Town Hall on Valentines day 2017. They are calling on Mayor Philip Glanville to house DV survivors in safe council accommodation. Demands projected onto the Town Hall.

But Mr Glanville hit back saying the claims are “simply not true”.

Refurbishing properties in Marian Court has “taken longer than expected”, but any properties not occupied are being renovated, he said.

He said: “I held constructive discussions with Sisters Uncut last year and we’ve made significant progress on staff training and the use of hostels, with the vast majority of domestic violence survivors now placed in self-contained accommodation or council-run accommodation.

He added the group’s protests last year, where paint was spattered outside the town hall, cost “tens of thousands of pounds” to clear up: “That is money we would rather spend on vital frontline services.”

A survivor told the crowd: “When I was nine, my best friend’s mum was murdered by her dad on the estate I grew up on. When someone is going to hurt you that much, the thing that can really protect you is having a safe house.”

The Sisters also posted messages through the town hall letterbox “reminding the mayor of his promises”. The group estimates “well over 100” people were there.


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