Over the last few days I’ve noticed several articles indicating that Occupy Bristol is intent on disrupting the remembrance day parade and that we should be removed from College Green. The problem as I see it, is that those making such statements obviously haven’t been on site to witness the continued discussions taking place. Many of our family members are ex servicemen and women who bravely fought to defeat fascism during the second world war. My own grandparents were in the RAF. On site we have several veterans who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and served in both Bosnia and Northern Ireland. No one has said they would like to see the remembrance day parade disrupted.
As far as I am aware, every one is in agreement that we fully respect the right for both ex servicemen and the people of Bristol to remember the sacrifices made by members of our armed services. I’m not a spokesperson for Occupy Bristol. However, I personally find it offensive that people would insinuate that we would wish to disrupt the parade.
We are a peaceful group of concerned citizens who wish to see a better future for ourselves and every one else. This includes our former and current service men and women. Our NHS and public services were created after the war through the pressure, determination and political action of those who bravely fought to defend our future. To think our intention is to discredit this remembrance is an outright lie.
Our pensioners including ex-servicemen and women are treated appallingly by the system they fought to defend. We fully recognise the struggle they face. They fully deserve the support and care of the state, yet it has become blatantly evident that the state seeks only to represent the demands of the wealthy, big business and the financial institutions, rather than the needs and aspirations of the people. Those who believe Occupy Bristol would ignore these issues clearly have no understanding of the solidarity we share with the elderly and former service men and women.
We protest against the continued attack on ordinary people by both the state and big business. We protest against the cuts to pensioners and children’s services. We protest against the cuts to our national health service and the sick. We protest against mass unemployment. We protest against increasing energy costs. We protest against rising food prices. We protest against the lack of opportunity and social mobility. We protest against political corruption and greed. We protest against Socialism for the Rich at the expense of the poor. We protest against an unjust system that doesn’t give a dam about anything but ensuring its own continuation. It is our hope that the people of Bristol can understand our reasons for setting up camp at College Green.
Despite what some people may think, we are not camped on College Green in the freezing cold and rain to protest the remembrance day parade. We welcome open discussion on how to accommodate both the remembrance day parade and the continuation of peaceful democratic protest against the corrupt injustices of our government. Occupy Bristol recognises the sensitivity of this issue and is willing to work with the organisers to reach a solution.
Again I don’t represent the group. However, I can assure you having been constantly on site since the beginning of our protest, no one has said they do not wish to respect the day of remembrance. We have repeatedly said we are willing to cooperate and negotiate if we are given the opportunity to do so. Yes we are protesting against the government and the current economic order, but please do not label us as insensitive or ungrateful to those who fought for our ability to protest against it.