Pictures: Campaigners take to their sleeping bags in York homeless protest

Taking things lying down… a clever way to make the point. Photographs: Richard Bridge
16 Jul 2015 @ 10.42 pm
| News
Taking things lying down… a clever way to make the point. Photographs: Richard Bridge
Taking things lying down… a clever way to make the point. Photographs: Richard Bridge

These were the unusual scenes in York on Thursday evening (July 16) as protesters decided to take to the streets – literally.

Climbing into sleeping bags and under blankets, campaigners lay down in St Helen’s Square to show their solidarity with those who have to sleep on the streets.

It was a highly visible form of protest against the ‘anti-homeless’ bars added to York benches by City of York Council, first revealed by YorkMix.

The organisers said:

With cities like ours trying to make life harder for the homeless, we want to send a message of inclusion to people across York – this city is for everyone!
Two young campaigners  join in
Two young campaigners join in
The message was simple
The message was simple

The low-level demo came before campaigners officially handed over a petition demanding the removal of the bench bars, which the council says are needed to counter anti-social behaviour.

With more than 5,400 signatures, they believe it is the largest petition ever handed in to the authority.

The pavement protest fills St Helen's Square
The pavement protest fills St Helen’s Square

It was delivered at the full meeting of the council in York’s Guildhall.

Richard Bridge, who started the petition, thanked everyone who took part in the protest.

He said:

It was a stunning turnout and an amazing level of solidarity. Let’s now wait to see if council really are a listening administration – 5,400 signatures and still counting.