Occupy London Bank of Ideas

The Bank of Ideas: open for 'business'. Photograph: Julia Ross

Campaigners at Occupy London’s Bank of Ideas yesterday hailed the “symbolic” occupation of the UBS building in Sun Street, Hackney, on its opening day of public events.

The former financial offices in Shoreditch were first occupied late on Thursday evening.

Franklin, 36, an occupy supporter and organiser, said: “UBS has a reputation for being unethical from our perspective. We don’t look on them favourably.

“Companies like UBS aren’t protecting the man [sic] on the street. What we are doing here is community-building.”

The Bank of Ideas plans to host more talks and debates in the coming weeks as well as a possible gallery space at the building in Shoreditch.

Another organiser, Madeline, 25, called the building “a place where people can some and a focal point in order to organise our actions for the future.”

However, it is unclear how long the protesters have until they are moved on. Franklin told the Hackney Citizen: “We were served notices to leave the very same day we got in here.”

The focal point of today’s activity was a speech by Alessio Rastani, an outspoken US banker, in which he criticised the high bonuses paid to bankers as incentives and threw his weight the Occupy movement.

He said: “These protests are not about anti-capitalism or socialism but about our democracy.” He added: “If you want to hurt Wall Street, invest in your mind.”

He told the Hackney Citizen he supported the occupation of the UBS building as well as the Occupy movement itself.

The Bank of Ideas will continue with talks and events today, including a debate on a possible ‘Robin Hood tax’. For a full list of upcoming events go to the Bank of Ideas.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team