Edinburgh Council has become the first political body to officially back to worldwide Occupy movement.
The council this afternoon voted in an overwhelming majority to redirect economic decisions to be more focussed on the needs of the 99% in an attempt to reduce the “inequitable gap” between the rich and poor.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Greens, all voted in favour of the motion, with the Conservatives the only party to reject it.
During the debate, Councillor Chapman of the Scottish Green Group said: “Next week workers will go on strike to protect pensions whilst the 1% continue their parasitic feasting on the commonwealth.”
Labour Councillor Gordon Munro, who is an advocate of the Robin Hood Tax, added: “Occupy Edinburgh is a civilised response to the irresponsible actions of global bankers.”
Conservatives voiced concern over the safety of the Edinburgh camp based at St Andrew’s Square, citing anti-social behaviour and a risk to public safety. They also felt that a vote to back the movement would suggest that Edinburgh was closed to the needs of businesses.
Councillor Chapman responded: “This is not about saying Edinburgh is closed to business. It’s about representing the interests of the people.”
Background to the Occupy Movement
St Andrew’s Square has seen an influx of approximately 300 protestors since October 15 calling themselves Occupy Edinburgh. The demonstration, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests in America, has seen campaigners rally against the influence of the ‘one per cent’ of wealthy individuals and companies over the ’99 per cent’ of the general public. Their mantra, ‘We are people over profit’, reflects their protests against cuts to education, disability benefits and the NHS. Dozens of students, working mothers, trade unionists and other campaigning groups have set up camp and made a call for social equality and corporate responsibility.
The non-violent protests in Edinburgh are among a small minority of the demonstrations which have gone smoothly with little disruption.