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Anti-capitalist protestors brave Ulster rain

Pacemaker Press 24/10/2011 From L-R William Donnelly, Ryan Barnes and Neil Moore, as Occupy Belfast demonstrators Protest at the Cathedral quarter in Belfast Pic Colm Lenaghan

Pacemaker Press 24/10/2011 From L-R William Donnelly, Ryan Barnes and Neil Moore, as Occupy Belfast demonstrators Protest at the Cathedral quarter in Belfast Pic Colm Lenaghan

ANTI-CAPITALIST protestors at a camp opposite St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast yesterday vowed to continue their protest come “rain or no rain”.

The Occupy Belfast group — following in the footsteps of anti-capitalist movements Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London — say they have received messages of support from similar groups in England, Spain, Australia and the USA. The messages, received through Facebook and Livestream, have encouraged the group to continue with their protest in Writer’s Square, in the Cathedral Quarter.

“We’re representing the 99 per cent — students, the unemployed, workers — who are losing out to the one per cent — big businesses and wealthy people at the top of society,” said 24-year-old Gerry Carroll.

“It’s about justice and it’s about equality.”

The protestors, who have been camping out since Friday, plan to distribute leaflets around Belfast city centre over the next couple of days to make people more aware of their objectives.

The group are using Writer’s Square as their base but have not ruled out further protests in other parts of the city.

“At the minute, it’s about building numbers and raising awareness,” said 24-year-old Joni Connolly.

“We’re hoping other cities in Northern Ireland will get involved themselves.”

Despite heavy rain and the severe weather warnings, the protestors have been encouraged by the support they have received from local businesses, residents and passers-by.

A gazebo has been donated by Friends of the Earth and Chinese restaurant Chopstix donated food at the weekend. Residents from nearby flats are continuing to supply the group with hot food, tea and coffee.

The group are keen to point out that the movement is open to everyone.

“We’re used to Belfast being divided into orange and green,” Mr Carroll said, “but no matter what community you’re from, we’re all affected by this.

“Occupy Belfast shows the world that people in Belfast can come together for a common purpose.”

• Protestors camped in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London yesterday claimed to have become a tourist attraction which is helping businesses around the church boom. As the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp entered its second week, with hundreds still bedded in at St Paul’s Churchyard, protestors continued to deny that they are responsible for the cathedral’s closure “until further notice”.

 

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