‘WE will defend Chase Farm Hospital with an occupation!’ was the message Bill Rogers, secretary of the North East London Council of Action, delivered on Saturday night to the St Paul’s occupation assembly.
Rogers said on the steps of St Paul’s: ‘We have been fighting for four years to stop the closure of maternity, paediatrics and A&E.
‘The only way to defend the hospital or for that matter libraries, schools, youth centres or any other service threatened with closure is by occupying the services to defend them and stop the closure.’
A roar went up from the crowd in enthusiastic agreement.
Rogers continued: ‘We are inviting you to all come down to Enfield for a mass march on the 10th of December and to bring as many people as you can.
‘We are then going to move to a daily picket of the hospital and from there to a full occupation of the services and departments threatened with closure.
‘Are you with us?’ Roger asked, and was answered a by a unanimous ‘Yes!’
David Adams, who was on the steps of St Paul’s listening to the meeting said: ‘I live near Luton in Hitchen. In Stevenage, our local hospital is called the Lister.
‘I am opposed to the closure of Chase Farm Hospital and I am against the closure of the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City because patients from the QE2 will be forced to come to the Lister and if there is no space they will be forced into private health.’
He added: ‘Privatisation always means that they will extract surplus value as profit and the standards go down. We have to defend the NHS.’
One of the occupiers called ‘Squeek’ said: ‘It is ridiculous what they are doing to the NHS. Public health care is a basic human right.
‘I come from Ireland where it costs 3,000 euros a year for health insurance and that does not even cover you.
‘The NHS is precious, people fought for it! The occupation of Chase Farm hospital is necessary.
People need that hospital and I will participate in the occupation.’
Meanwhile, legal action has been taken out against the St Paul’s occupation and the occupiers are preparing to defend the camp by all means necessary.
Camper Ev Emanon said: ‘We heard that they want us out and that the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral are going through the legal channels to get us removed.’
She added: ‘Our principle is that we are not going to move because we are demonstrating for freedom and against the corrupt system.
‘If we are demonstrating against a system, then why should we do what the system says?
‘The government should be for the people. When you have a government that will not let its people speak out then you have a dictatorship with an illusion of choice.
‘We are not moving our tents no matter how many times they ask us!’
Writer and curator Lucia Farinati said: ‘The legal proceedings against the camp are ridiculous. This is a peaceful camp and they should have the right to stay.
‘I have come down to support because I share their concern that it is not right that we should have to pay for their economic crisis.’
Occupier Matthew Horne said: ‘We will not be evicted. They will not succeed in doing a “Dale Farm” on us.’
Yesterday, the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, addressed the occupation over the Cathedral authorities’ offer of a public debate in the church in return for leaving.
Chartres said: ‘I do not think we are on the inevitable road to violence.’