Campaigners against the ‘anti-homeless’ bars installed on York benches are to deliver what they believe is the largest ever petition to York councillors on Thursday (July 16).
With six hours to go before the full council meeting, the e-petition had topped 5,400 signatures.
That compares to 1,494 signatures collected against the closure of Lendal Bridge.
As first revealed on YorkMix, the bars have been added to benches at various locations in York – including Rougier Street, opposite the train station and outside the art gallery.
Petitioners are demanding the removal of the bars – needed, City of York Council says, to curb anti-social behaviour.
Big York Sleep-in
Richard Bridge, who started the petition, said:
If we fail to acknowledge the true intent and symbolism of these bars, we succumb to an attitude that makes our street environment deliberately hostile to homeless people who want to rest as well as elderly, infirm and pregnant women.
A protest has been arranged ahead of the petition handover, in conjunction with York People’s Assembly.
The ‘Big York Sleep-in’ will see people bring blankets and sleeping bags to send a message of inclusion and solidarity with rough sleepers and more generally people who find themselves homeless.
It all takes place at 5.30pm in St Helen’s Square.
When we talk about homeless people, we are talking about someone’s son or daughter and that none of us are immune
Richard said Britain needed to change its approach to the homelessness problem.
When as a society we are intentionally coercive and unkind to the most vulnerable we should surely remember, when we talk about homeless people, we are talking about someone’s son or daughter and that none of us are immune to a bereavement, a sudden relationship breakup, a financial crisis or an even more sudden breakdown.
York should not breed hardness and isolation.