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Outrage over anti-homeless ‘spikes’ in London 40,000 people sign petition in protest

 LONDON, June 10, (AFP): The installation of pavement spikes to stop homeless people sleeping outside a London building sparked outrage on Tuesday, with 40,000 people signing a petition in protest and Mayor Boris Johnson calling them “stupid”. The petition, set up on the website change.org following a storm of outrage on Twitter, says the spikes are “inhumane” and calls for more effort to look after the most vulnerable people in society. Johnson, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, had previously condemned the measure and called for it to be removed as soon as possible. “Spikes outside Southwark housing development to deter rough sleeping are ugly, self defeating & stupid. Developer should remove them ASAP,” the mayor wrote on Twitter on Monday. He defended his record on tackling homelessness, but admitted that London authorities “must do more”.

However, he insisted: “Spikes are simply not the answer.” The short metal spikes, not unlike those used to deter pigeons from the tops of walls, have been installed outside a residential development a short walk from the Shard tower and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The company that built the flats at 118 Southwark Bridge Road said it was not responsible for installing the spikes and had sold the development to the residents in 2009. The new management company, Property Partners, also known as Residential Partners, was unavailable for comment when contacted by AFP. More than 2,000 people were sleeping rough in the capital between January and March this year, an eight percent rise on the previous year, according to information from local outreach teams published by St Mungo’s Broadway charity.

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