Occupy London activists have launched a group offering critical and informative guided tours of Britain’s most important financial centres.
The first tour, on Tuesday 6 December 2011, led visitors around Canary Wharf, with future tours planned for the City of London and hedge funds in Mayfair.
The inaugural tour began at 25 Bank Street, the building vacated by Lehman Brothers when the investment bank collapsed in 2008.
Other ‘sites of interest’ included the global headquarters of Barclays Bank, accused of large-scale tax avoidance, and Moody’s Credit Ratings Agency, which failed to properly rate the risky financial products which led to the crash.
Canary Wharf is situated in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, the local authority with the second highest rate of severe child poverty in the UK.
This year, Barclays Bank announced pay and bonuses for its top five staff of £110 million, the day before Tower Hamlets Council was forced to agree cuts of £72 million to local services.
OLSX supporter Liam Taylor, aged 25, a history teacher in east London, explained: “The Occupy movement is all about education: learning about the mess we’re in and talking about the alternatives we want. This tour will be a fun and creative way of taking that discussion back to some of the places where the crisis began.”
Mike Anderson, aged 24, added: “London is one of the most famous financial centres in the world, yet when tourists come here all they are shown are churches and palaces. These tours will expose the murkier side of London’s recent past.”
Organisers hope that this tour will be the first of many. Liam Taylor explains: “London is at the heart of the system we’re trying to change. Its most iconic buildings are where some of the most disastrous decisions get made. We invite anyone and everyone to come along and find out what is wrong and how we can start to change it.”
* More on OLSX: http://occupylsx.org/