Pictures: Campaigners take to their sleeping bags in York homeless protest
These were the unusual scenes in York on Thursday evening (July 16) as protesters decided to take to the streets – literally.
Climbing into sleeping bags and under blankets, campaigners lay down in St Helen’s Square to show their solidarity with those who have to sleep on the streets.
It was a highly visible form of protest against the ‘anti-homeless’ bars added to York benches by City of York Council, first revealed by YorkMix.
The organisers said:
The low-level demo came before campaigners officially handed over a petition demanding the removal of the bench bars, which the council says are needed to counter anti-social behaviour.
With more than 5,400 signatures, they believe it is the largest petition ever handed in to the authority.
It was delivered at the full meeting of the council in York’s Guildhall.
Richard Bridge, who started the petition, thanked everyone who took part in the protest.
I am a single parent with two jobs. I have a son who is not well. He is under 21 so does not get housing benefit. I don’t know what scares me most – the thought that no matter how hard I work at some point I won’t be able to pay the rent – or the attitudes some people have towards homeless people.
Just a thought York Mix, but the guy in the picture that started all of this, the guy laid out on the bench with his legs under the bars in Rougier Street, was he homeless? or just some drunk sleeping it off before heading home to tell his wife he’d pi**ed the rent and grocery money up against the wall and now they couldn’t feed the kids.
After all it’s important to know the facts, because every picture tells a story, but sometimes that’s all they are… stories!
Hi Kirby. As far as we know the man in the picture is a known “street drinker”, and not necessarily homeless – and to be clear we’ve never described him as homeless.
The picture didn’t start everything, we took it in response to a lot of anger being expressed about the bars being added to the benches. As we’ve reported, the council say they are to reduce anti-social behaviour and deny that they are an anti-homeless measure, but many people (many thousands according to the petition) feel differently.
In reference to what started this which were the bars on a bench at a bus stop in Rougher Street:
Those bars are without a doubt there to stop drunks and drug addicts pestering commuters and making them feel uncomfortable they are a heath and safety policy put in place before something bad happens. And I applaud the council for there action with regards the bars on ‘bus stop’ benches in Rougier street.
I guarantee that if some bus commuter, someones son, daughter, mother or father or even a homeless person had sat on a used needle and contracted HIV or hepatitis a/b/c before the bars were put on, the public would be screaming to have them installed.
Although I would hope, based on the location of these ‘bus stop’ benches in Rougher Street that the true ‘homeless’ wouldn’t spend a night within such close proximity of two pubs where there safety might be in question, but I may be wrong.
That said, I guess the bars could always be made retractable between certain hours of the day? now there’s a thought.
I was going to post but you have said it. Well posted
I am appalled by the lack of compassion in the replies. One of the points that the protesters were making was that we mustn’t criminalise people because they are homeless. Being homeless is not a crime. It is not difficult to find yourself homeless- it is far more difficult, however, to get life back on track once losing a place you can call home. I have worked with several people who have been homeless at some point in their lives: young men with so much potential and so much they want to do with their lives but have had things happen to them that would break your heart (does break your heart) if they were your son or brother; older men who have simply lost their marriages, their jobs, their homes.
This name calling, lack of awareness, lack of human kindness is offensive.
I was in subway the other morning minding my own business having a drink and the homeless guy walks in with a sleeping bag wrapped over his shoulders he ordered a coffee then he started giving getting annoyed about there not been any tissues and sugar to the poor girl behind the counter who probely works very hard she’s was working on her own I think because it was quite early about 8.00am .Well the attitude of this guy was abismal that’s what kind of people your protesting for Scumbags ! Who have ended up in that mess because of there own behaviour !!!. Please don’t be fooled that all homeless people are sweet little angels!!!!.
WOW. This has to be a joke. Are you honestly tarring all the millions of homeless people in the world with that brush? If a housed person was acting rude would you think all housed people are awful? You realise that no one chooses to be homeless? It’s criminal that one of the richest countries in thr world forces some of it citizens to take the risk every night of sleeping
Yeh and leave a fucking mess. Not like the homeless.
Send all the homeless to live outside their houses see how they like it
What does this even mean?!