Protest group encircles OWS, prevents their eviction from St. Paul’s Cathedral

By » Sun, October 30 2011

Occupy London protest at 006 Protest group encircles OWS, prevents their eviction from St. Pauls Cathedral

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests have expanded globally, we’ve had a timely chance to watch how people act and react to basically the same thing around the world. Naturally, Rome burns. In England, protesters have camped on what precious little open area they can find in London, specifically, the grounds surrounding the 14-century-old St. Paul’s Cathedral.

It closed for the first time in over 50 years, it was so choked with protesters.

After the protesters rearranged the layout of some of their tents, the church swung open its heavy oak doors around noon Friday to widespread applause from protesters, some of whom were standing next to a sign saying “What would Jesus do?” The cathedral’s dome and galleries remain closed over evacuation concerns.

The decision to close St. Paul’s, which reportedly lost more than $150,000 in donations, was stunning, activists say. The last time the church was closed was during the Blitz in World War II—and even then, only for four days.

The state and the Church of England agreed, it was time to sweep the protesters aside.  Granted, for their own good.

stpauls camp 2036027c Protest group encircles OWS, prevents their eviction from St. Pauls Cathedral

The cathedral has been criticised after it released a full list of the health and safety concerns that has been used as justification for closing it for the longest time in living memory.

Mark Field, Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster—in which the cathedral sits—said they were “spurious health and safety excuses” and called for them to be ignored.

Just the same, the CoE is pushing on to move people along.  Their justification: protests are a kind of “little violence”, and that giving voice to the protesters was tacitly endorsing any violence that would breed from within their ranks or from outside influence.

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London said, “I don’t myself subscribe to the idea that it’s instantly going to lead to violent confrontations… a prudent organisation has to be prepared and we just don’t know what’s going to happen. Nobody knows. The camp could be taken over by people who are very different from the ones who are in charge at the moment. I think it is a prudent measure.”

Especially if you let the riot police take over it.  I’m positive the protest will turn violent if that happens.  Just the same, the protesters’s eviction itself is now getting protested.

Christian groups have drawn up plans to protect protesters by forming a ring of prayer around the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, should an attempt be made to forcibly remove them.

As the storm of controversy over the handling of the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration deepened on Saturday, Christian activists said it was their duty to stand up for peaceful protest in the absence of support from St Paul’s. One Christian protester, Tanya Paton, said: “We represent peace, unity and love. A ring of prayer is a wonderful symbol.”

And so are teargas canisters.  But still, bold move.  Just don’t forget to bring masks and eye pro… And deodorant.

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