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Occupy Thanet protestors say they speak for the 99 per cent

By Thanet Times  |  Posted: January 31, 2012

  • FIGHT FOR RIGHTS: Occupy Thanet's protest set up outside the Turner Contemporary at the opening of its flagship Turner exhibition.

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A GROUP of protestors representing the invisible "99 per cent" of society, set up camp outside Turner Contemporary in Margate on Friday.

The Occupy Thanet movement inspired by demonstrations in Cairo, London and New York, braved the freezing cold to draw attention to inequality in society.

A group of at least a dozen young people pitched tents and donned masks for a silent protest. Coinciding with the launch of Turner And The Elements exhibition at the gallery, VIP guests stopped to talk to the group including Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow, Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale and Margate mayor Iris Johnston.

The campaign displayed placards and handed out leaflets opposing public sector cuts and lack of regulation of big banks.

Protesters have participated in other local protests against live animal exports from Ramsgate port, a new Tesco at Arlington House and public sector cuts.

A protestor, who only wanted to be known as Dave, said: "We are told we live in a democracy but we know that individuals alone have little say in the way their country or hometown is governed.

"We are gathering to voice our concerns on behalf of the 99 per cent, whatever their political views. We have seen with Arlington House that the council has not enforced the lease and put the seafront in the hands of private developers.

"It's the same situation at Dreamland and many other areas in Thanet."

Activists say they are lucky to live in Thanet but highlighted inequality is rife on the isle, with people living in Cliftonville West expecting to die 12 years younger than those in Kingsgate.

The group was formed in October through social networks and online forums. It welcomes people across Thanet to join the movement. To find out more about Occupy Thanet, visit www.twitter.com/occupythanet or attend their meetings on the first and third Wednesday every month at the Red Hall in Broadstairs.

David Yard, head of communications at Turner Contemporary, said: "Whilst we support the right of the Occupy Thanet group to exercise their free speech, they are in no way linked to Turner Contemporary and they do not represent our views.

"We have spoken with representatives of Occupy Thanet and they assure us that their event will not impact on gallery visitors."

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