Demonstrators hit back at London mayor who described them as ‘crusties’ engaged in a ‘thoroughly maddening protest’
The Tory mayor incensed Occupy demonstrators at St Paul’s Cathedral when he described them as “crusties” engaged in a “thoroughly maddening protest against capitalism” and repeated his call for them to be removed.
Organisers hit back, accusing Johnson of spending more time meeting City figures than ordinary Londoners. They pointed out that the mayor – who has called for the 50p top income tax rate to be abolished – has a combined annual income of more than £400,000 a year.
A small group of around 15 protesters left the camp outside St Paul’s to stage a peaceful “thank you party hosted by bankers to show their appreciation for all the support that mayor Boris Johnson has given them over the past year”.
Activists checked Johnson’s official diary, seizing on the fact that, between May 2008 and March 2011, he held 86 meetings with bankers and the financial services industry. In contrast, he held only 15 public meetings with Londoners and five press conferences, they said.
Occupy said the mock party was designed to show the way the Conservative mayor has stood by top earners and has warned politicians not to use rhetoric against bankers’ bonuses.
Protesters wore suits and bowler hats and held a banner saying: “Boris loves bankers.” The event was staged ahead of the London mayor’s monthly public questioning by the London assembly.
A protester who identified himself as Dennis said Johnson’s denouncement of protesters showed he had “completely failed to capture the mood of the country”, saying people from all walks of life felt angry enough to take part in the Occupy London protest.
The protester, a musician, said: “Boris Johnson has totally identified himself as the mayor of the 1%. He is in favour of abolishing the 50p rate of tax but he is going to raise fares that are going to disproportionately impact on poorer people in London.
“It is necessary for people to understand that Boris has spent more time meeting with bankers than ordinary Londoners, and that this is completely unacceptable in the middle of an economic crisis.”
Twelve days into the protest, the London mayor called for laws to prevent tent cities “erupting like boils” across London. On Monday, he used a speech to call on judges to have the “cojones” to rule that the protesters were “restricting the highway”.
Johnson told the Norwood Annual Dinner, at the Grosvenor House hotel, in Park Lane: “The world sees a city where you protesters have the right to make your point, whatever it is, until such time that parliament passes a law … or until a judge frankly has the cojones to decide that they are indeed restricting the highway.”
- Boris Johnson: bankers who draw huge bonuses are ‘repugnant’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Occupy protesters accuse Boris Johnson of defending the rich | Politics | guardian.co.uk (tiarelounge.wordpress.com)
- Metropolitan lines: Occupy Boris (guardian.co.uk)
- Johnson’s Life of London, By Boris Johnson You Can’t Say That, By Ken Livingstone (independent.co.uk)