The university and police have expressed dissatisfaction at our occupation, and have tried to push through. We are determined to continue our occupation, and have our exciting programme of workshops and performers go ahead.
We are blockading the door, and would love more people to come join us. Spread the word, come on down, and have some fun.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jo Joyce – 07804 852 291
Seventy activists from feminist groups, Occupy, UK Uncut, Solidarity Federation and Disabled People Against Cuts have today occupied London’s historic Women’s Library in a daring bid to save it from closure.
In a secret action, a small group of women from the specially-formed Reclaim It! group led the take-over of the library in central London at 1.30pm. Within minutes they were joined by a larger crowd of protestors who had been led to the location by the organisers from two meeting points.
The occupation is part of a growing wave of feminist anger against the government’s austerity regime. Banners hung from the occupied building highlight the effect the cuts are having on women, such as the nearly 30,000 women turned away from refuges last year due to lack of space.
University history lecturer and library user Josie Foreman said: ‘The Women’s Library houses a world-renowned collection of women’s history. Much of its archive documents women’s struggles for equality. At a time when women are bearing the brunt of this government’s savage cuts, cuts which compound the gender inequality of our society, this history is more important than ever. We are here to fight for our right to access that history, which is our history.’
The occupation was planned to mark International Women’s Day, ironically the day The Women’s Library exhibition ‘The Long March to Equality’ was due to end pending the building’s closure.
Local resident and mother Jane Summers said: ‘Women have suffered the brutal blows of this government’s attacks on vulnerable people. Cuts have ripped vital services from the heart of our communities and endangered lives through the reckless closure of women’s refuges and domestic violence services. In occupying The Women’s Library, a treasure trove of women’s history, we stand in the tradition of the suffragettes and Greenham Common protestors in our realisation that at certain moments in history it is ‘deeds, not words’ that matter.’
Notes to Editors
Women affected by the library’s closure and austerity cuts more widely are available for interview.
Sick of the Con Dem’s regime of cuts and austerity?
Tired of watching helpless while the government destroys people’s lives and create a world we don’t want to live in?
Then join us on International Women’s Day to take direct action to stop the cuts.
We are an independent coalition of feminist and anti-cuts activists who think its time to take matters into our own hands. We are particularly concerned about the gendered impact of the cuts which will jeopardise safe and free access to abortion, force single mothers back to work when their children are still young, close down rape crisis centres and women’s refuges as well as many more services for women and LGBT people.
We will be taking direct action in a ‘yet-to-be-revealed’ location, to reclaim feminist space. Assemble at 12pm on Friday 8th March at either Goldsmiths University of London (main entrance Lewisham Way ) or Queen Mary University of London (main entrance Mile End road) where you will be met and taken to a convergence point. This action is open to people of all genders and none.
Join us to fight austerity together!