windsor eco-occupation (regularly updated)Tagged as: diggers environmentalism occupy squatting windsor
VID 1 a short clip as the group approaches windsor today
VID 2 confirmation that the group may be committing a civil offence but certainly not a criminal one
VID 3 more papers are served by an enforcement officer at lunchtime today (sunday)
VID 4 for some of the group this is their first view of their proposed new home. a beautiful riverside plot, left unused for years.
a group calling themselves 'diggers2012' and loosely affiliated with the occupy movement, are attempting to set up an eco-village on a piece of disused land on the windsor great park estate.
this article is getting regular updates (including an arrest and court hearing) so keep checking back
videos and pics by diggers - free for non-commercial credited use - other rights reserved - contact diggers2012 (see website below)
thursday evening injunction served on the runnymede camp
despite, as reported previously, a promise from the diggers2012 group that they had no intention of remaining permamently at their interim camp which is, it turns out, on royal holloway college land, the college has applied for an injunction, and the papers were served this evening, addressed to 'simon moore and other persons unkown'.
they were told by police that they should either leave tonight, or be ready to leave in the morning, and also warned that if they wait until the bailliffs arrive they may not be allowed the time to pack their proterty to take with them.
the hearing in the morning will be at the high court rolls building just off fetter lane, at or after 10.30 (precise time is never available for these hearings, as the judge decides on the day which order to hear several cases).
if the injunction is granted (and realistically it most probably will be), the group will not be allowed to camp on royal holloway land. rather unhelpfully, the map attached to the injunction is very small and extremely faint, making it almost impossible to be sure of compliance.
the group has already been served pre-emptive injunctions relating to crown estate property, but they vow to continue their search for an appropriate venue for a low-impact ecological camp on untended land in the area, and at present their call-out for support, a meeting, an assembly and a teach-in still stands for saturday at the magna carta memorial in runnymede.
thursday court appearance for simon - see link to simon's statement below
simon had a full hearing this morning of the anti-social behaviour order (asbo) at westminster magistrate's court.
he represented himself by himself.
he was up against the metropolitan police acting on behalf of the commissioner, their lawyers, someone from the national domestic extremist unit, a superintendent co-ordinating olympic security, and two officers who had previously arrested simon (one from an incident two years ago and the other from the ministry of defence).
simon appealed to the judge on the basis of truth and justice.there is an excellent court report and a full statement from simon at http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12408 - definitely worth reading.
the court was first told a verdict would be reached at 2pm, but then this was later postponed until 10am on monday morning. the interim asbo remains in place until then, with its wide-ranging bans on his behaviour, including effectively criminalising any form of civil trespass. he faces further arrest because of this when he returns to the runnymede camp.
update wednesday evening
in a repeat of yesterday's unusual court appearance, simon stood today in front of another judge who saw little harm in simon's actions and little justification for the wide-ranging asbo. so again simon was 'fined' £50 which was deemed paid in kind by a night in the cells.
'observer' below has uncovered the coincidental fact that the royal holloway campus is an olympic site. this was not brought up in court on either day, although the campers found out the this fact earlier today. the windsor eco-village camp actually have no olympic motives, and are surprised at the irony of having ended up for the time being on planned olympic accomodation.
while high court enforcers are busy handing out injunctions to anyone new arriving at the site, ensuring they are aware of a ban on entering crown property, there has been no attempt by royal holloway to begin eviction proceedings on the camp. since the campaigners have publicly stated they will be moving on after their meeting at runnymede magna carta memorial on saturday (1pm - all invited), it seems unlikely royal holloway will do anything this week.
simon is appearing at the new westminster magistrates court in marylebone tomorrow at the full hearing on his currently 'interim' asbo.
update wednesday lunchtime
having been released yesterday by a guildford judge who was clearly unimpressed by the terms of simon's olympic ASBO, he returned to the camp near runnymede and was again arrested last night and held in custody for breach of the same ASBO.
he will now appear at staines magistrate's court this afternoon at 2.00
the interim ASBO actually receives a full hearing at westminster magistrate's court tomorrow, where the terms could be challenged before they become active for a two year period.
as reported before, the ASBO was given to simon as a result of his peaceful protests at leyton marsh where waltham forest council gave planning permission to the olympic delivery authority for no other reason than the 'exceptional circumstances of the london 2012 games' even though the project would, by their own admission 'ordinarily be dismissed on principle'.
the ASBO includes various clauses banning simon from being anywhere near olympic and jubilee sites, routes and events, but section 6 also bans him from 'entering or interfering with any property without the owner's permission'.
yesterday at guildford magistrate's court various staff, solicitors, and even the judge appeared bemused by the excessive scope of the ASBO. ASBOs are supposed to be used to stop repeated alarm, harrassment or distress. simon, as anyone who knows him will attest, is one of the most reasonable, peaceful, and unalarming people you could hope to meet.
the camp at copper's hill is under police surveillance, but no legal papers have been delivered, so they are hoping to remain there until their public meeting at 1pm at the magna carta memorial in runnymede where they hope more people will join them for the next phase of their 'land and freedom' project.
current location (tues until possible eviction on friday)
the camp is set up down the hill in the woods from the car park at kingswood halls of residence.
if walking up the mud track from egham, look out for the orange cones on your left - these
mark the point at which to enter the woods and you'll see the camp.
the nearest train station is egham, about 25 mins walk. if you want to get nearer the camp by public transport you can get on the slough bus from egham town and get off at the stop before the top of priest hill, englefield green. that saves you a walk up a steep hill and is ten mins from the camp.
update tuesday evening
simon appeared at guildford magistrate's court today, and his ASBO appeared to cause considerable bafflement among staff and even the judge. she asked simon whether he was intending to launch some sort of protest against the olympics from woodland near runnymede. he was instructed (i believe wrongly) that he MUST talk to the duty solicitor before appearing in the court. he did so, and the duty solicitor told him that the first breach of an ASBO would normally attract a six month prison sentence, although even the solicitor expressed surprise at the scope of the terms.
in court, simon pleaded guilty to the "offence", and was asked the point of his cause. after hearing from him, the judge gave him a £50 fine, already paid in lieu by the night in the cells.
it seems that guildford authorities find the corrupt ways of the olympic delivery authority, metropolitan police, and westminster magistrate's court all a bit alien. the only people in court who might not have been so confused were the two officers from scotland yard sitting at the back.
there's a first-hand report from the courtroom at http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12396
simon has returned to the camp tonight. they are on an apparently untended wooded area at cooper's hill very near runnymede. people are invited to join them (with tents) at the magna carta memorial in runnymede at 1pm on saturday.
in the meantime of course, it's not inconceivable that simon will be re-arrested for further breaches, hopefully leading to more puzzlement at sensible provincial court houses.
update tuesday 16.00
news has come in in the last hour that simon was released at guildford magistrates after "breaching his asbo". the judge found him guilty of the breach, but deemed him to have served one day inprisonment. he is returning to the camp now.
more details later
update monday evening
the main news today is that one of the group has been arrested.
simon was involved earlier this year in trying to protect leyton marsh from a development ordered by the olympic delivery authority which, according to council documents, would ordinarily have failed planning consent on principle, but which was passed purely because of the olympics. (see http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12042).
simon was part of the occupy camp at the marsh and was one of several people arrested on the eviction day - he was imprisoned for five days as a result (http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12049).
on his release from prison, he was served an ASBO by a police officer (http://london.indymedia.org/articles/12092). among many draconian terms mainly designed to stop his interfering with any oympic or jubilee events, there was also a clause preventing him from entering any building or land without the owner's permission. it was this section that was cited in his arrest today.
simon will appear at guildford magistrates court tomorrow morning. breach of ASBO is a serious offence with a penalty of up to five years in prison. ASBOs were aimed at people causing harrassment and distress. anyone that knows simon will also know that he is one of the most peaceful and good-natured people one could meet, and that he could not cause alarm or distress as it is simply not in his nature.
the rest of the camp has now found a spot of woodland belonging to brunel university where they will stay tonight. they are still hoping to take over a suitable site on crown estate land in the coming days.
they are still trailed by an entourage of police, crown estate and others.
while speaking with a nice friendly 'police liaison officer' this evening they realised they were being filmed by someone in a nearby bush.
update monday morning
after a peaceful night, the camp packed up this morning as they had promised to the various enforcement officers. the local cafe was also very supportive and provided refreshments. the group is now heading into woodland owned by the crown estate and is looking for a suitable place to pitch camp for another night.
the aim is still to find an area of disused land in which to set up a very low impact sustainable eco settlement, and to claim crown estate land for the people. according to the investigative journalist and author, kevin cahill, who has researched crown land ownership extensively, the crown is the effective owner of around a sixth of the world's land surface, and any unregistered land in britain automatically become's the crown's. that is why this group of modern "diggers" is hoping to find their new home on suitable crown estate land.
as they head into the woodland, they are currently followed by various crown estate commissioners, police, a legal team and others.
this article has also attracted a troll - someone posted an "addition" claiming to be by me, which stated there was an aggressive eviction this morning. it's been hidden, and i will be updating the timeline as news comes in, but will not be making comments as additions, so (as usual with indymedia) be wary of what you read in 'additions'.
the group has also called a public meeting at runnymede on saturday at 1pm. more on that later.
update sunday 19.00
having been told by locals that the target area has been left unused for many years, the group were rather surprised when the crown estate legal team produced a "farmer" who said it was a hay meadow which was soon to be cropped for sileage. there will be a lot of nettles in that sileage for sure!
however, there is a plan B, and probably C, so as a first stop, the group have continued their journey and moved out of thames valley police area into surrey's jurisdiction, and are intending to temporarily camp overnight at runnymede. the surrey police have been more confrontational and less open to legal argument, but the camp is hoping it has persuaded them of its intention to only remain one night at runnymede before moving on to another location. there are however as many police in attendance as campers.
the camp has restated its committment to its declaration to continue to repossess and cultivate disused land.
update sunday 15.30
the diggers have now arrived at the beautiful riverside plot at windsor. new video added.
update - sunday 14.00
the group has now reached datchett and are not far from the site. they have been served further papers apparently stopping persons unknown from going into windsor great park! does this mean the park is closed to the public today? two more videos added
the diggers2012 have identified a forgotten area of the windsor great park with abandoned farm buildings.
to show an alternative to our "system of crisis", the group plan to grow food, live sustainably and restore and build structures in a responsible way.
they are calling for the right for everyone to make use of otherwise disused land to live on in a sustainable way, free of debt and rent.
they had planned and publicised the journey, starting from the long-established syon lane community allotment yesterday, camping overnight, and aiming to take over the disused land this afternoon.
at the start of their adventure yetsreday, thames valley police arrived with two high court injunctions relating to the whole of the great windsor park and also identifying other smaller areas of crown estate in the vicinity.
the police admitted they cannot lawfully prevent the potential trespass from going ahead without a warrant from the high court for the breach of the court order, but they are escorting the group, who at midday today are just a few miles from their target.
the main group from syon numbered 20, but a few more have just joined and others are expected to meet up later.
if you are interested in the project and wish to become involved, look at their website and get in touch. all committed people are welcome. see on the website what you will need to bring etc.
this is a first-hand report from one of the people who travelled from syon to windsor on the first day. he also attended the court case (see link above in tuesday evening update)
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org