Campaigning for environmental and social justice in the London Borough of Brent and beyond. Against cuts and privatisation and for real democracy. Managed by Martin Francis of Brent Green Party but open to all who share these aims.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Residents, including children, defend Kensal Rise library

Children outside Kensal Rise Library
Latest news on Kensal Rise library from the Harrow Observer:

KENSAL Rise Library is being protected by a crowd of passionate residents, some of whom stayed over night so that council workers could not board it up.

Around 100 people headed to the cherished Bathhurst Gardens building last night in a last ditch attempt to save it after a High Court ruling yesterday allowed the council to permanently close it, along with five others.
Residents started the peaceful protest at around 5pm, and soon found there was plenty of support from passers-by.

According to campaigners, council workers attempted to board up the building twice without success. Five protesters slept by the building all night to protect it, with council workers sleeping in a van nearby.
But the effort did not stop this morning. Residents are still protecting the library and intend to continue their efforts.

Protesters brought down boxes of books from their homes, saying that they were willing to 'continue the service' from outside.

Paula Gomez, the treasurer of the Brent SOS campaign, said: "It was all friendly, we were just trying to stop them from boarding up the library and that was very successful, there was a great atmosphere and everyone was cheering. They tried to board it up twice but we turned them away.

"We are bringing our own books to make sure the service continues outside, people have even been bringing back their books to return to the library. We are all very disappointed (about yesterday's High Court ruling) but this has really brought the community together, there are some pretty exceptional people here. We are just putting out the message that we want out services back."

Mrs Gomez said a lot of the protesters in the early evening were children, with many people walking past the powerful scene on their way back from work.

The six Brent libraries at the heart of the High Court ruling have already closed and will not re-open.
The Labour-run authority had shut the half a dozen branches - Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton - in anticipation of the judgment being handed down in the case launched by Brent SOS Libraries.

Staff were briefed about the judgement and the council has now taken the decision to keep the doors locked permanently as they implement their delayed £1million saving plans with immediate effect.
Campaigners were denied the opportunity to appeal the judgement but are considering going to the Court of Appeal.

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