Protesters have been accused of being ‘misleading’ in their efforts to shame the Canal and River Trust over feared evictions of boat dwellers.
The claims follow Saturday’s blockade at Milton Keynes Marina where a petition of 5,700 signatures was delivered to CRT’s head office.
“Many of the accusations made by the protesters at the weekend are misleading at best,” said Jonathan Ludford, spokesman for the charity, which maintains 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.
“That said, we respect people’s right to protest and will fully consider the issues raised.
“We know that sometimes people run into difficulties, and this is extremely hard for everyone involved. When this happens we always do everything we can to work out solutions with those concerned.”
The Trust asks all boaters to abide by “some simple rules and pay their fair share”, but protesters are making a stand against the threat eviction of those unable to abide by the 14-day rule due to personal circumstances and illness.
Before the speakers got under way boats were draped in banners, flags and posters as campaigners united.
Anita de Klerk, who founded The People’s Flotilla Against Austerity and organised the protest said: “I thought the day was extremely successful and achieved all that it set out to achieve by creating an awareness around the evictions that CRT are imposing on the vulnerable, disabled and the sick.
“It all ties into the government’s austerity agenda which is targeting the most vulnerable members of society through their draconian policies.
“The People’s Flotilla strongly opposes all cuts and will be planning more protests in the future in solidarity with all anti-cuts campaigning groups as part of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.”