I contact you with regards to the article in the EDP on the 14 March titled “Occupy protesters to be moved on from Norwich’s Castle Gardens”. We were surprised to read about the affiliation made between the camp in the castle gardens and Occupy Norwich.
During the last months of the occupation of Haymarket, we established a good contact with the Archant Community Media Ltd. I discussed the developments of the camp with your colleague Richard Wheeler over the phone and I also expressed the challenges Occupy Norwich, like many other occupations, were faced with (see also eveningnews). A number of homeless people meet at Haymarket, where a charity hands out soup at night. The Occupy Movement means a great deal of hope to many people who do not have all that much. The Occupy Movement camps were, and in many towns still are, one of the only places that did not close their doors to them. At the same time, we are not educated to offer the support needed and do not have the resources to provide solutions in a professional way – as much as we try and would like to. This is not a problem of Occupy Norwich or indeed the Occupy Movement as such. Instead the challenges we are faced with are a reflection of the society and its problems we live in. The fact that there are homeless people who do not have anywhere to go, who cannot find their place in our society, speaks for itself. Some of these people are broken souls who just need some attention to their specific situation, or they just do not fit into the society we have created, but many have just simply been affected by poverty. Homeless people remain invisible to many, and now with new legislation, housing cuts, and cuts in benefits, jobs, and wages more and more people are without homes (see in relation to this a press release by OLSX). To put it on other words: The challenges we are faced with are precisely the very problems the Occupy Movement is trying to raise awareness about.
As announced in our press release on the 21 February 2012, Occupy Norwich de-camped and has moved on to a new phase of wider community and direct actions, educational projects, and a continued public forum for discussion. By such means as these, Occupy Norwich will continue to raise awareness of the global problems that urgently need addressing: Inequality, unsustainability and dysfunctional democracy. The previous camp at Mousehold Heath as well as the one in the castle gardens now have nothing to do with Occupy Norwich, but have been organised by a separate group of homeless people. Although we welcome people helping each other, the encampment at the castle gardens, which is right on the stage of the Whiffler Theatre, does not have our support. We wish to put a message across and it is not in line with our thinking to occupy a public space that is there for people to use freely for artistic and other purposes.
In the spirit of the Occupy movement in Norwich and throughout the world, we remain committed to open dialogue and will seek to continue that dialogue with the people of Norwich, but also with the council and the media. We appreciate the good contact we have had with the Archant Media recently and would like to ask you to rectify the content of the article mentioned above. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us in future should you be publishing about Occupy Norwich in order to confirm facts and details.
With best wishes,