7 Days Remaining

Monday 13th
posted by Lamiat Sabin in Britain

Housing leaflets prompt violent response

AN ANTI-GENTRIFICATION activist said he was left bruised by security yesterday for handing out leaflets at the mayor of Newham’s summer shindig.

Focus E15 campaigner Ben Geraghty was distributing notices calling for the rescue of Carpenters Estate before being strong-armed to the ground by the burly watchdog.

Mr Geraghty said the guard, employed by security firm APS, tailed him around the park, threatened him and grabbed him by his throat and arm.

He said the guard told him: “I’ll tear you apart, I can walk all day, don’t you worry about me.”

Other security guards at the annual “family day” also confiscated leaflets and banners from distributors on their way in to Central Park in east London.

Carpenters Estate, which used to be home to 400 households, now stands empty and is earmarked for demolition so the council can sell the land to developers.

A Focus E15 representative approached the mayor, Sir Robin Wales, but security ushered him aside.

Mr Geraghty told the Star: “We feel the only way to deal with the housing crisis is to get organised and fight back. No-one is going to represent you better than yourself.

“We’re going to just keep going.”

Focus E15 is currently seeking advice on the next course of action on the behaviour of the guards.

Mr Wales was found to have breached the borough’s code of conduct in February after losing his temper at last year’s summer show after shouting at lifelong Newham resident Jasmin Stone, who was criticising his housing policies through a megaphone.

Ms Stone, one of the group’s founders, had been told by the council that she and her young daughter would have to move as far as Manchester to be rehoused after being one of the 180 people evicted from a hostel.

She and fellow mother Sam Middleton have occupied two empty flats on the estate since last September.

Ms Stone was arrested in April during a police raid on another mother’s home on suspicion of squatting, according to Focus E15, but was later released without charge.

APS was unavailable for comment.