Mark Thomas leads protest against crackdown on Exeter rough sleepers
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Feb 13 19:43:01 GMT 2016
Comedian Mark Thomas leads big protest against
plans for a crackdown on rough sleepers in Exeter
Express and Echo | Posted: February 11, 2016
Comedian and activist Mark Thomas led a
demonstration outside the Civic Centre in Exeter
last night against plans for a crackdown
rough sleepers in the city centre.
The comedian had been performing his political
comedy show Trespass at the city council-run Corn
Exchange earlier in the evening.
During the show he spoke out against proposals
for a Public Space Protection Order which gives
the police greater powers to move on homeless
people which the council wants to introduce in the city.
More than 12,000 people have so far signed an online petition against the move.
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At the end of the show at around 10.30pm, he left
the theatre and told the audience he planned to
demonstration against plans for the PSPO outside the Civic centre.
Scores of people from the audience followed him
to the Civic Centre. They were handed pitchforks,
torches and banners to aid the protest.
Passers-by and several homeless people also joined the protest.
Police were called to monitor the situation. The
peaceful demonstration lasted around an hour and there were no arrests.
Mr Thomas was able to reassure officers that the
pitchforks were capped for safety purposes.
One protestor, Kirsty Kennedy, said: He talked a
lot about the PSPO and knew all about the plans
to introduce it in Exeter. When he suggested a
protest at the end of the show lots of people
followed him out of the theatre and joined him at the Civic Centre.
The police were a bit concerned to see people
with pitchforks - but it was all good natured,
and good fun, with a serious point to be made.
It was a great way to make a point and it was
amazing to see so many people taking part.
The PSPO would impose restrictions on the city
centre that can leave those in violation of the
order subject to an on-the-spot fine of £100.
Failure to pay this fine will result in court
proceedings that may result in a fine of up to £1000 and a criminal record.
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