Occupy Amsterdam told to clean up camp

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Occupy Amsterdam protesters must stop causing public disturbances by Monday, Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has told them, but will be allowed to stay.

The mayor met with 50 protesters for two hours, a spokesperson said. The Occupy protesters agreed to reduce the size of their tent camp and to improve its sanitary conditions. The mayor has ordered them to enforce an alcohol and drugs ban in the camp and refrain from lighting camp fires, according to the spokesperson.

For seven weeks the demonstrators have been allowed to camp in the central square in front of the stock exchange with few limitations, the mayor reportedly told them. Now they must stop causing trouble for people who work and live in the area, including shop owners, stockbrokers and department stores.

The mayor ordered the protesters to remove their cars, campers and caravans from the square this weekend. He has also imposed a ban on amplified music after 22.00 hours.

The two sides discussed the possibility of moving the camp to the financial high-rise district on Amsterdam’s southern outskirts. No agreement appears to have been reached yet on a move.

In a reaction, the Occupy protesters say they knew of most of the mayor’s complaints and wanted to give him a chance to spell them out in front of everyone. The organisers say they already planned to reduce size of the the camp and end their overnight stays in order to maintain order and keep away hooligans.

The protesters have been occupying the Stock Exchange square since 15 October. They have removed many of the tents they had pitched in the centre of the square since then.

The global protest movement began in Madrid in the spring and was given a fresh boost in New York this autumn. The key demands include limiting the power of corporations and banks, which they blame for the current crisis and the growing income inequality between the very richest and the other “99 percent” of the population.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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