Picking up a ‘Penguin’: Marchers en route to Brixton. (Note: Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, has said the Carnegie should remain as a library – Ed.)
“THE WORLD NOW KNOWS THERE IS NO FUTURE FOR THE ABSURD PLAN FOR GYMS IN THESE LIBRARIES”
Full statement read by the Occupiers on exiting Carnegie library:
“Before anything else, we would like to thank all our supporters and occupiers. “We have been inside, here at Carnegie library, for 10 days but being inside would not be possible without the support of all of you outside. “We are all part of one action to save our libraries and protect our public services.
“We took this drastic action in the face of an intransigent council that refused to listen. “10 days ago we decided to stay in the library to stop it closing its doors for the last time. “Now, we feel that the council is under far greater pressure than they have felt before.
“They are completely isolated and their plans have been shown up to be the sham and the shambles that they really are.
“The strength of our campaign is not only the unity across all 10 libraries – in our Defend the 10 campaign. “The unity between library users and library workers has been really important. “We have marched together, organised meetings together and lobbied the council together.
“We have supported the four days of strike action that library workers in UNISON have taken so far to support the library service and their jobs and they have shown us their wholehearted support for our occupation.
“We have been humbled by the response of so many people. “We have received countless messages of support that have linked this campaign to their own struggles to protect their own services from cuts and privatisation.
“We are proud to be connected to other library campaigns and struggles such as the junior doctors strike where people are taking a stand to protect public services.
“As one of our messages of support says: ‘Reading, learning and the pursuit of knowledge is a right and not a privilege. ‘We have the right to feed our imaginations and develop our thoughts. ‘This should not be taken away from us and should not only be available to the privileged few.’
“We hope that we’ve shown that through the actions of ordinary people its possible to challenge these decisions that take services away from all of us. “Privatisation and cuts can be resisted and it is possible to win.
“We are coming out today stronger than we went in, just as resolute and with much more support. “By coming out today, we can march together.
“We may be leaving the library today, but our campaign continues. “We will meet on Thursday to plan our next steps and build on the progress we have made through the occupation.
“The world knows now that there is no future for the absurd plan for gyms in these libraries. “We leave the library today with the intention that we will all be returning back through the doors; when Carnegie library is reopened, Minet library is reopened and the future of Waterloo and Upper Norwood libraries are secured.
“Thank you everyone for your support – “
(Paragraph in bold highlighted by News From Crystal Palace – Ed.)