Five members of the UK group called The Love Activists, who were occupying a former bank building in Liverpool, have been evicted and arrested.
The anti- homeless activists had been occupying an empty Bank of England building in Liverpool city centre since April to stage a protest and help provide shelter for the homeless.
At about 5.30am a cordon was put in place around the premises on Castle Street as a precautionary measure whilst officers entered the building.
The BBC report:
Police said the Grade I listed premises have now been secured and a search of the building was taking place.
Four men, two aged 20, a 22-year-old, a 50-year-old and a woman, 19, are being held on suspicion of trespassing during the currency of a possession order.
The woman was also arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and an offence under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Ch Supt Jon Ward of Merseyside Police said it “will facilitate peaceful protest we will not tolerate disorder, criminal or anti-social behaviour during any demonstration”.
He continued: “Since this group forced entry to the building, numerous calls have been received by the police regarding the anti-social behaviour of some of the trespassers and some of their associated supporters in the street.
“This has included littering, urinating from the upper floors into the street below, noise and swearing.”
He said although the force could legally enter the property and arrest those inside, during the last 25 days his officers have tried to negotiate and asked the group to leave on numerous occasions but to no avail.
Ch Supt Ward said none of those arrested has yet been identified as being homeless or rough sleepers.
Even though the occupation of the former bank building was illegal, the fact remains that the ‘Love Activists’ protestors were trying to make an important point.
They wanted the building to be turned into a facility to provide services to homeless people in Liverpool city centre and argued that provision in the city is currently insufficient.