Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Removal of Occupy London protest is 'terrible' sight

The former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral has called the removal of the Occupy London protest camp a “terrible” sight.

Police and bailiffs moved in to remove the camp from outside St Paul’s Cathedral just after midnight. Most protesters left the site peacefully but there were 20 arrests.

Rev Dr Giles Fraser tweeted this morning: “Really proud of the way Occupy conducted themselves last night.”

Dr Fraser, who resigned over the cathedral’s opposition to the protesters last year, said it was a “sad day” for the Church of England.

According to the Occupy London website, he was prevented from crossing the police lines to reach the site this morning.

“We would have liked to see him there,” the group said in a statement.

The camp had been in place since 15 October but the High Court ruled last week that its removal by the City of London Corporation was “lawful and justified”.

The City of London Corporation said in a statement: "The City of London Corporation has begun to enforce the High Court orders for the removal of the tents and equipment outside St Paul's. We regret that it has come to this but the High Court Judgment speaks for itself and the Court of Appeal has confirmed that judgment. High Court enforcement officers employed by the City of London Corporation are undertaking the removal with the police present to ensure public safety and maintain order. We would ask protesters to move on peaceably. The City of London Corporation is ensuring vulnerable people are being helped and supported to find appropriate accommodation in partnership with Broadway, a charity for the homeless."

In a statement, St Paul’s Cathedral said: “In the past few months, we have all been made to re-examine important issues about social and economic justice and the role the cathedral can play. We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs but we are fully committed to continuing to promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute.”