#OccupyLondon pulls banner stunt under police’s noses after pension’s rally; 21 arrested #n30

Pic: Si Brown: Activists joined the national rally before splitting off to make their own statement

TWENTY-ONE activists were arrested after entering offices believed to belong to the highest paid CEO in the country and hanging a banner from its roof that read ‘All power to the 99%’.

The intervention in Panton Street, off Haymarket, took place following a march through London in protest over cuts to public sector pensions proposed by the government.

The group from Occupy London targeted Michael Davis’ office after he was named as the biggest earning CEO, at mining company Xstrata, in the FTSE 350 (the 350 highest valued companies registered at the London stock exchange) during November having been paid £18.5m over the past year.

Police, who had been keeping an eye on the activists as they congregated in Picadilly Circus supposedly for a general assembly meeting, lost track of them as they left the area following a samba band.

Around 60 people reportedly entered the building before police chased after them, but not before they unfurled their banner much to the delight to those below.

Outside officers blocked the entrance to the building preventing anyone else from entering leading to tussles with protesters as the purpose of the action was spelt out over a loud-hailer.

Within minutes around a further 100 police officers arrived kettling scores of people who were unable to escape despite warnings from fellow activists.

Several people were singled out and arrested in violent struggles as friends attempted to de-arrest them.

A police statement said the 21 arrests were for burglary, aggravated trespass, criminal damage and assaulting a police officer.

Karen Lincoln, a supporter of Occupy London said: “Mick Davies is a prime example of the greedy one per cent, lining their own pockets while denying workers pensions. In this time when the government enforces austerity on the 99 per cent, these executives are profiting. The rest of us are having our pensions cuts, health service torn apart and youth centres shut down.

“We refuse to stand by and let this happen. We call on others to join us in the fight for a more just society. Today we have taken this to one of the offices of the one per cent. This is only the beginning. Come and join us on 15th December for Occupy Everywhere.”

The action followed a peaceful march by tens of thousands of people from Holborn to Westminster by 29 trade unions representing public sector workers fighting government plans to make staff increase pension contributions by three per cent while being forced to work for a year longer.

The march was part of a national strike that saw around 2m people take part forcing public services to close or run reduced services, however, it was clear that many people chose not to support the action and crossed picket lines to work.

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