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Canal blockade highlights boat-dweller evictions

DOZENS of people took part in a canal blockade this weekend in protest against the eviction of elderly and disabled boat dwellers.

The People’s Flotilla Against Austerity called the day of action following threats and the seizure of boats and possessions from several vulnerable people by the Canal & River Trust.

“It is a good start and something for us to build on,” said People’s Flotilla organiser Anita de Klerk.

There was a “good turnout and some people have travelled more than three hours to be here.”

Activists assembled at the Pear Tree Bridge pub in Milton Keynes in the early afternoon, using boats to block the canal while supporters cheered from the towpath.

Speakers from the People’s Assembly, the National Bargee Travellers Association and the Green Party also took part in the rally.

They then moved on to the trust’s headquarters nearby, where representatives handed in a petition with holding the names of 6,000 people demanding the end of evictions on the canal.

So far one schizophrenic woman was left homeless when the trust order 20 bailiffs to tow away her houseboat.

And two severely ill men have been told they will lose their homes after not being able to afford permanent mooring licences from the trust.

The blockade is one of the many actions in the lead up to the People’s Assembly No More Austerity national demonstration on 21 June.

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