Anti-capitalist protesters have set up camp in the heart of Birmingham city centre – and vowed to stay there until Christmas.
The tents in Victoria Square, a stone’s throw from the Colmore Row banking quarter, sprang up earlier this week following similar demonstrations around the world, most notably the Occupy Wall Street campaign in New York.
Starting with two tents, seven have now been set up outside Birmingham Council House and those braving the elements said they had been supported with food donations from members of the public.
One of the protesters, Symon Bailey, aged 30 and from Sutton Coldfield, who is currently unemployed but previously worked as a security officer, said: “This is the most important thing affecting us at the moment and we are in this for the long haul.
“We see the system as corrupt. People have become aware since they had to bail out the banks that there’s a socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor who are left to fight for what’s left.
“David Cameron says we’re all in it together but we’re not.”
Thomas Collins, aged 20, from Bartley Green, said he wanted equality for all.
Currently unemployed, he said: “I want to see change, not just for me but for people who are struggling, people are not happy.
“The government was put there by the people to help but they are helping themselves. There’s greed in the system and it can’t work with greed in the system.
“Government is there for the people but the people are ignored. We want equality, we want people to have their say and be heard.”
Musician Karl Lewis, aged 47 and from Edgbaston, said the demonstration aimed to make the world better for future generations. He even sang to school children on trips to the city centre.
He said: “We’re here to show there is a problem. Progress is now and if we deal with it now it will work.
“Politicians don’t look at working on the now because if they do that, they don’t make any money.
“I’d say to people: ‘Come down and see what we’re about and support us.’”
A city council spokesman said the camp would not interfere with Sunday’s Bupa Great Birmingham Run, which is set to attract 15,000 competitors and takes a route through the city centre.