Focus E15 campaign stall seized by police in Stratford
PUBLISHED: 18:12 07 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:43 08 December 2015
Focus E15 campaign members say their stall was shut and their table taken by council officers and police after a confrontation.
A spokeswoman for the group said a table was confiscated by a Newham enforcement officer and several police on Saturday during Focus E15’s weekly street stall on Broadway, Stratford.
This is the first time the stall has been shut down, Focus E15 said in a statement released on its website.
Officials approached stall members at approximately 1.20pm on Saturday and took the table away at 1.50pm, according to the spokeswoman. A nearby socialist workers’ stall was allegedly also closed down.
The group were also told their banner and sound system were at risk of being confiscated.
Focus E15 members say they believe the move follows the group’s resistance towards the council after it brought the Carpenters Estates Tenants Management Organisation under its control just last week.
The protest group says it will continue to campaign on the housing crisis in Newham and will return to the site next week.
A Newham council spokeswoman, said, “If the owner of the table gets in touch with us we will happily release it so that it can be home for Christmas.”
She said that the table had been moved in accordance with section 137 of the Highways Act 1980.
“It was removed on Saturday by the council working with the police as it was blocking Stratford Broadway,” she said.
“Two separate groups were running street stalls outside Wilko along with a banner which was tied between a bin and a lamppost. This combined activity took up a significant amount of space, causing an obstruction so the groups were asked to take their stalls down. One group agreed while the other refused.
“This was not unreasonable as blocking Newham’s highways and pavements causes issues for other residents and local businesses, especially at this busy time.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman also confirmed some of its officers had “supported officials from Newham Council in dealing with a demonstration in Broadway, E15”.