Occupy Sheffield abandoned an attempted 24 hour pop-up camp outside Sheffield Town Hall this evening. The decision was made due to concerns over safety and Occupy Sheffield’s image.
An alternative camp has been planned by the occupiers. They will gather outside the Town Hall at 10:00 am tomorrow and will camp throughout the day.
The occupiers gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall at 18:30 and began a group discussion shortly after 19:00. Initial optimism faded as occupier Ben Jackson, 36, raised safety concerns:
“Are we not vulnerable to zombie attack?” asked Jackson.
Worries began to surface that late night revellers could disrupt the camp’s peace. Jackson later told the occupiers: “with these numbers, I don’t want to camp.”
Out of the 10-15 people who attended the discussion only five or six were willing to camp for the night.
The pessimism amongst the campers was clear as one of the senior occupiers asked if he should pick up any supplies for the night. “People” was one occupier’s deadpan response.
A few hopeful voices proposed going ahead with the camp, but opinion quickly swayed towards abandoning the plans as Jackson suggested the low turn-out could damage Occupy Sheffield’s image.
One of the most outspoken occupiers in favour of continuing the night camp was 28-year-old Sarah Wild. She said that she was “disappointed” but she thought that abandoning the camp was ultimately “the right decision.”
“Our power is being fluid, able to change our minds,” she said.
Sheffield Hallam University student James Excancopoulous, 20, was one of the original occupiers outside Sheffield Cathedral last November. On the decision he commented “I was expecting this.
“They wouldn’t be able to sleep – they’d be scared,” he said.
A more hopeful perspective was offered by Jackson: “I think we’ll achieve just as much by having a day camp as we would have done staying over tonight.”