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Mass Sleepout in Solidarity with Newport's Homeless People

Mezza | 26.06.2015 06:52 | Occupy Everywhere | Health | Policing | Repression | Wales

Police are harrassing, bullying and arresting Newport's homeless people even more than usual, telling them that they will be clearing them out of Newport. They are using the 1884 Vagrancy Act and imposing impossible bail conditions. This stinks of a clean-up ready for the opening of a new shopping centre in November. A mass sleepout has been organised so that we can help these exceptionally vulnerable people.

Homeless people in Newport are being arrested under the 1884 Vagrancy Act. Their bail conditions include that they are not allowed to enter abandoned buildings, sleep in any doorway, passageway or under the stars. They are directed to a hostel in Cardiff that they don't have the money to get to or to pay for if they get there. If they are seen so much as dozing ANYWHERE in the city centre (which is where the drop-ins are located) they get arrested and are being fined £75. No doubt many of them will be locked up for non-payment of fines. Cops are going up to them and hassling them even more than usual, saying they're going to get them out of Newport. They've been witnessed waiting outside drop-in centres for the homeless to leave and intimidating them.

One of the girls was recently refused entry into Asda to use their toilet so had to take a pee outside, was as discreet as possible with someone else trying to shield her from public view, and was subsequently arrested and charged for breach of her ASBO. The magistrate commented that it was 'most distasteful' and the probation officer later told her that her personal hygiene was dreadful (it really isn't!) and was asking her extremely personal questions, such as had she ever been sexually abused/raped, had she ever had sex for money and so on.

The whole thing stinks of a big clean-up in preparation for the opening of a new shopping centre later this year. Newport has been especially hard-hit by austerity, indeed last year it was announced that Newport had the second highest vacancy rate of all city and town centres in the UK. There are many empty buildings in Newport, yet so many people don't have roofs over their heads.

Our homeless people are exceptionally vulnerable HUMAN BEINGS. If you take the time to treat them as humans, to talk and listen to them, their stories are often harrowing. Some are mentally ill and/or physically ill, some suffered childhood abuse, some have addiction problems. They never wanted to be on the streets, treated worse than animals and frequently in fear of their lives. They should be given all the help and support they need, including homes.

Each and every one of our homeless people should be valued more than a corporate bloody shopping centre.

Please, spread the word and come along to join us in our action. Prepare to mask up if you don't mind, so that our homeless friends can mask up and join us too, hence lessening their chances of arrest.

Vegan food will be available, donations welcome. Thank you!

We will be meeting outside the railway station 7pm Friday 3rd July and camping out in town for as long as we can to show solidarity and to raise awareness of the situation.

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Hide the following 2 comments

good luck!

26.06.2015 21:16

i'm not in Newport, but i wish you success with this.
Homeless people are treated pretty badly in London as well.
as if its a crime to be homeless, while there are so many empty properties.

the regime is attacking the poorest, weakest, and least connected.
Homeless people and unemployed are treated so badly its not even funny.

Good luck!



27.06.2015 10:20

Good luck with supporting those in need of decent housing, the police in Bristol have recently used the vagrancy act to move on people using tents in parks here!

BHAM, Bristol Housing Action Movement