29 Oct 2011
A VETERANS’ charity has called on anti-capitalist protesters who have camped on the Garden of Remembrance in the heart of Scotland’s largest city to leave.
The Royal British Legion in Scotland said the Occupy Glasgow group’s encampment in George Square threatens to disrupt the upcoming Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday services in the city.
The demonstration, which takes up a corner of the square near the war memorial opposite the council chambers, has been in situ since October 15 and is made up of about 20 tents with a similar number of full-time residents.
Last week, a woman was raped by two men at the camp, though none of those involved is thought to have been part of the protest.
Last night, Neil Griffiths, spokesman for the Royal British Legion Scotland, said the charity had held discussions with the activists about them leaving so services could take place unimpeded, but their pleas had so far been rebuffed.
He said: “They assured me they would move away from the area needed for the remembrance service, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
“We do not have a problem with their protest, although we do not accept their argument that millions of servicemen died so they could camp in George Square. Our main concern is that their camp disrupts the Garden of Remembrance and the plans for the Armistice service.”
He said the demonstrators would be welcome to attend any of the services, but said a request by them to lay a wreath had been refused as the Royal British Legion does not align itself with any single-issue groups.
Glasgow City Council has issued the camp with a notice of expulsion and will go to court on Tuesday to get an eviction order, clearing the way for the demonstration to be forcibly removed.
The camp’s presence could also affect the Christmas lights switching-on festivities, as well as a fun fair planned for the end of November.
A source at Glasgow City Council said the authority was continuing to hold discussions with the demonstrators. The insider said: “Our first hope is that the sheriff grants the order and it’s complied with.”
l PROTESTERS camped outside St Paul’s in London were told yesterday they will face legal action to evict them as the cathedral reopened after closing for a week because of the camp.
St Paul’s and the City of London Corporation will seek separate High Court injunctions in an attempt to clear more than 200 tents which have been outside the cathedral for almost two weeks.
Protesters said they would oppose any such legal action.