A protester who spent more than 30 hours in the air on a construction crane in Nine Elms spoke of his struggle with the cold and the fear of falling.
Nicholas Georges of Guildford completed the death-defying two-hour climb on the crane after arriving at the site at 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Roads in the area have since been closed by the police out of fear for his safety and to passers-by.
My London spoke to Nicholas, 69, after spending the freezing night sleeping on the 300-foot crane.
READ MORE: Updates after 69-year-old protester stayed on the giant Nine Elms construction crane
(Image: Sarah Wilkinson)
He said, “It is the most terrible thing I have done in my 69 years on this planet. The height, the fear of falling and breaking into the construction site. “
“It was a difficult night. I was worried about falling out and it was freezing.
“I slept for an hour all night. It’s so uncomfortable up here, but luckily I didn’t slip and fall. “
Nicholas unveiled a Palestinian flag from the top of the crane on Tuesday, saying he planned the protest in solidarity with the treatment of the Palestinian people.
The 69-year-old brought a portable ladder to the construction site of Nine Elms – a £ 1 billion project to build a 200 meter high luxury skyscraper.
He climbed over the fence and then climbed the ladder again over the crane’s barricades. Nicholas said he used bolt cutters to remove the padlock on the crane’s access hole and then climb the tower.
Since then he has survived on the “emergency ration” of energy bars and water.
“It’s hard enough to climb here without a big backpack, so it became very, very difficult.”
Nicholas developed a head for heights when he used to work in a crane, but said he hadn’t been on one in more than 25 years.
“I no longer have the strength or joint movement in my arms or legs as I used to – it took me two hours to climb up here.”
The 69-year-old plans to dismount at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (June 16) when he admitted he was most likely to be arrested by police.
“What will be will be. You can’t worry about the price. I won’t worry until I have to pay it. If I worried, I wouldn’t do anything in life.
“I’ve done what I believe in, so I got on with it and did it. I didn’t want to just sit in front of the TV and moan about it and do nothing. “
This isn’t even his first attempt to climb the tower, Nicholas said he previously tried to climb the crane only to discover it was locked with chains so he returned with bolt cutters.
Nine Elms Lane is still closed to the west between the US Embassy and Wandsworth Road, creating traffic incidents that do not go down well with motorists in the area.
However, Nicholas said some traffic disruptions were minor compared to what was happening in the Palestinian territories – he pointed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which flared up again in May.
He said it was “a much more serious thing” that Israel bombed Gaza, arguing that “two million people” [are] captured in this tiny area surrounded by the Israeli army “.
“For people who complain that their route has been rerouted a bit, it’s pretty much irrelevant compared to the horrors that go on out there [in Palestine].
MyLondon The 12’s brilliant new newsletter is packed with news, views, features and opinions from around the city.
Every day around 12 noon we will send you a free 12 story email to keep you entertained, informed and cheered. It’s the perfect midday reading.
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from town hall to your local streets.
Don’t miss a moment by signing up for The 12 newsletter here.
“It is so sad that the people of this country are so blind to what is going on in the world – the injustices and the suffering. They don’t know exactly how lucky they are to live in this country and they complain about road closures here. “
During his six-month stay in Beirut when he was 17, Nicholas said he opened his eyes to the “dilapidated” scenes of Palestinians apparently evicted from their homes.
Nicholas said: “Every day I saw the atrocities and horrors of the Israeli occupation. The Palestinians have been in my heart since I was 17 and I haven’t done anything about it for 50 years.
Nicholas went there again in 2019 for three months as a humanitarian witness.
(Image: Ian Vogler)
“I became a Christian six years ago and that finally gave me the chance to do something about it.
“It was hard to know what to do. It felt like little Nick alone. Finally, I was trained and sent as a humanitarian witness for three months. “
He wanted to raise awareness of the issues, but found that none of his tactics worked.
(Image: Dylan Buckley)
“I have given lectures in lecture halls, church meetings, and school classes, and shown them the pictures and videos of what I experienced while I was outside.
“I’ve written countless letters to MP Angela Richardson, been on marches, held posters, raised money for charities, but none of them made a difference.
“Our normal way of complaining about how the government rules by consensus is through its MPs. But our MPs have completely failed to do this on behalf of the people, so what can be done but to protest? “
(Image: Ian Vogler)
Nicholas appeared to have resigned himself to the fact that he will most likely be arrested if he wants to dismount later Thursday.
He said, “God knows what punishment they will give me for protesting this crane. I didn’t hurt anyone, I didn’t do any harm, I just raised the Palestinian flag. But I’m sure that’s why they want to hit me really hard.
As soon as he is downstairs and out of the expected police custody, he says he wants to “go to a coffee shop somewhere for a coffee”.
Is there any news about the story? Get in touch at email@example.com.