The Occupy London Stock Exchange protest, a spinoff of Occupy Wall Street in New York, attracted big crowds at the weekend with more than has 250 setting up camp and some vowing to stay until Christmas.
“I joined the protest because I believe that everyone is equal and a tiny one per cent of the world should not be entitled to fortune which has negative knock-on effects to others,” said Sarah Dorey, 21, an environmental management student at Kingston University.
Bronte Plenderleith, 19, a Kingston Human Rights and Creative Writing student added: “Each day a different assembly is held looking at different issues such as the future. We don’t want to be viewed as a bunch of hippies camping, but as the 99 per cent who are here to make a stand and are seeking change.”
Similar demonstrations have taken place in cities around the world in a co-ordinated protest.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed the crowds in at the launch of the protest at the weekend.
“This is not about the destruction of law, but the construction of law,” Mr Assange said.
Police were out in force at the launch but by the middle of the week only a few remained. The demonstrators said they were aiming for a “peaceful protest”.
Fanny Malinen, 24, a student at the School of Oriental and African studies, said: “This is the single most important protest I have been to. The system is flawed and we need an alternative. I hope this is the beginning of something beautiful and constructive.”
Campers have designated areas for first aid and recycling and set up a projector for film screenings. They have imported temporary lavatories and organised food deliveries to create a living space they say they will occupy until Christmas.
Nearby restaurant, Pizza Express, was showing support by allowing access to fill up water bottles and local businesses were donating food and water.
Mark Pearce, 26, a Poster Salesman, said: “I’ve always thought there was too big a gap between the rich and the poor. It needs to be equal and this is the first step to sorting the problem.”
Samba band, Rhythm of Resistance, played throughout the launch day. Demonstrators who remained at the camp during the week joined in dancing and singing accompanied by guitarists.