12 Days Remaining

Wednesday 31st
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

Homeless campaigners pleaded with authorities for a new site yesterday after Metropolitan Police forced them to shut street kitchens due to new year festivities.

The Love Activists camp in central London was told to leave or face being forcefully removed on Tuesday morning.

Campaigners had taken over the former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) offices on Charing Cross Road earlier this month, but were brutally evicted on Christmas Eve.

They set up a food and clothing bank across the street providing hundreds with a hot meal and a drink throughout the holidays.

Group member Sheila, who is living in temporary accommodation, told the Star they were shown no compassion by the police or the council.

“All the day centres are shut now — anyone homeless has nowhere to go, no food,” she lamented.

“We’ll move but they need to find us somewhere to move to, so we can continue giving a service to people that don’t have a family at this time of the year.”

Commenting on the eviction from the former RBS offices, Sheila said: “I think it’s disgusting they wouldn’t even open that building for the Christmas period. It should be open all the time.”

Streets Kitchen foodbank organiser Jon Glackin said: “We are needed in London.

“On Christmas night I rang the so-called homeless helpline for ‘No Second Night Out’ to be told there was no homeless outreach in London that night, nor any support.”

Mr Glackin added that the outside stalls could easily be removed if campaigners were allowed to use the RBS building once more.

Over 100 sleeping bags were set to be distributed at the camp last night, but the eviction of the site could mean that many will have to keep facing freezing temperatures.

“If Westminster council wish us to move from the streets they must first provide shelter, support and housing to all those in need so that we are no longer needed on the streets”, argued Mr Glackin.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “The group have been asked to remove this obstruction due to planned New Year’s Eve events in the area.”