Occupy Justice protesters put Blair and bankers on trial

Occupy Old Street Magistrates Court

Bankers are 'on trial' at Old Street Magistrates Court. Photograph: Zoe Holloway

Protesters who have taken over a disused courthouse in Old Street have begun to stage mock trials against the ‘one per cent’ they accuse of financial greed, days before they are due to be evicted from their temporary home.

The protesters always planned to hold a series of public trials of bankers and corporations charged with financial greed and tax avoidance when they moved into the former courthouse on 20 December.

But their plans had to be brought forward when an eviction order was served by Mastcraft Ltd, which owns the Grade II listed building. Appearing in court earlier this month, Occupy Justice agreed to leave the courthouse by 23 January.

On Thursday, the squatters, who are part of the global Occupy movement, began holding three days of trials which will be the last ever heard in the building which is to be turned into a hotel.

Occupy Justice will be helped by legal professionals to bring cases against defendants including Tony Blair and Goldman Sachs who have been invited to attend the trials.

On Wednesday, the High Court ruled that the City of London Corporation could legally evict anti-capitalist protesters from outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Emily Klein of Occupy London said: “[Wednesday’s] proceedings in the case of the City of London Corporation v Occupy London have shown that the justice system is more interested in penalising protesters who are highlighting the fundamental inequality in our economic system, instead of the activities of those in power.

“From Thursday, we will be proving that Occupy is firmly part of the political landscape when we take up trials that no court in Britain would dare to.”

An exhibition is open to the public in the cell block below the courtrooms at 335-337 Old Street – it uses audio and visual media to explore ideas of law and order in a highly unusual setting.

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