Campaigners against Selfridges’ controversial ‘anti-homeless’ spikes are plotting a protest outside the Manchester store this weekend, MM can reveal.
Manchester Metropolitan University professor Cathy Urquhart – who launched an online petition against the spikes last weekend – revealed to MM that there could be up to two protests across the weekend and early next week.
While in the early stages of planning with no specific dates or times finalised yet, Cathy claimed she wanted to give an opportunity for people to ‘air their views in public’.
She believes a lot of people want to vent their ‘anger’ so she expects large numbers.
The petition has snowballed – gathering nearly 7,000 signatures in under a week – and the anti-homeless activist explained that she was delighted with the reaction.
“I’m blown away by the response and it reinforces your faith in humanity,” she said
“I’m very inspired by the fact people want to take action and I think the pressure really is on Selfridges to respond.
“Just reading the comments on the petition page, you realise how many people agree that homelessness has got no place in 21st century society and these spikes have got no place in Manchester.”
The petition has also been given a helping hand with host website change.org deciding to promote it – meaning it will gain more exposure on their website.
Cathy revealed that people have become so passionate about the campaign they have begun issuing complaints to Selfridges directly.
“A lot of people independently have already started emailing and ringing Selfridges head office,” she said.
“The delightful thing about this is that everyone is suggesting this – they’re angry.
“I think the pressure will just persist until Selfridges do something about it.”
Manchester city councillor Beth Knowles is planning to meet Selfridges’ manager and raise the issue of the anti-homeless spikes – when the boss returns from holiday.
Cathy said that it might be difficult for the petition to reach the 100,000 signatures required for the issue to be discussed in Parliament, even with the huge amount of interest.
A petition to remove spikes from Southwark Bridge in London raised 130,000 signatures, but the population in the capital is 11million compared to Manchester’s 4million.
“Maybe we only need to get to 10,000 [signatures] for it to be convincing,” she said.
“[The petition] is building all the time – it’s almost like a lightning rod for people concerned about homelessness.
“We have a problem with homelessness in this country that no one’s interested in solving.
“One thing I’m hoping to come out of the campaign is that more attention can be paid to homelessness in Manchester.”
MM will have more details on the protest as it is released.