By Monday morning, 28 July 2008, the new squatting campaigners on the Wembley Park Sports Ground – Grass Roots Alliance for Social Sports (GRASS) – had managed to construct a huge barricade of tyres, branches and discarded rubbish.
The aim of the barricade is to block the exposed fence where construction workers contracted by Brent Council, paid by the Brent taxpayer, on the demand of Ark and their privatised Academy School project would enter the site, remove trees and begin construction work on the temporary accommodation, which the taxpayer is also funding.
As that work continued through the burning heat of Monday, council officials appeared to check out the situation, bailiffs soon followed. But no action was taken on the squatting protestors, only photographs taken. No one from the council at any time spoke to them.
Instead the council officials cornered the caretaker and, in an act which the site business owners called sheer arrogant “fascism”, declared: “We do what we want to do, how we want to do and when we want to do.”
This latest blatant power-hungry flaunt follows putting the businesses on temporary leases that could be terminated at a minute’s notice. The council threatened the businesses with eviction if they sought legal advice. Those leases expired last week. The council then threatened to remove all businesses immediately if another “tenancy at will” was not signed – sign an immediate eviction order or we’ll immediately evict you. The businesses refused. Then the council began talks last week to extend their time on the site till the end of August. Now this.
All the businesses are still waiting to hear about relocation, but there seems little to no hope that the council will follow through on that “promise”. There were promises to the sports ground caretaker that the grounds would run normally for the foreseeable future. Even that looks like it has gone now.
It would seem from this journalist’s angle that Brent Council, a Liberal council, have directly hit out at the businesses here, in retaliation to the local protest against the Ark Wembley Park Academy, in a hope it will divide the community spirit that has built and unified people like never before. Frustration is high in the council and it seems they will stop at nothing, nothing to hamper their “progress”. Not even democracy, rights or law.
Below is a short interview with a GRASS camapigner explaining why they felt compelled to get involved in the Wembley Park Battle.
Stop them Privatising Our Schools available on Reel News issue 12
Wembley Occupation available on Reel News issue 10
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