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Occupy London: Deflated but not packing their bags

22 February 12 13:48
Protesters put up a new banner
By Debabani Majumdar
BBC London News

The mood at the Occupy London camp outside St Paul's Cathedral seems defiant as one protester sips coffee and the talk is of what to do next.

The group have been ordered out of the camp they set up on 15 October now that the Court of Appeal has prevented them appealing against the eviction order obtained by City of London Corporation.

Catherine Powell, who has been teaching meditation at the camp, said: "This is a sad day. It's a big blow. But I don't feel despondent. It's Occupy phase two now."

Some of the protesters busy themselves putting up a patchwork, slightly frayed banner to replace an older one - a continued sign of defiance.

Although some said the decision had been expected, they do not want to pack their bags.

One of the group, who has been at the camp for the past four months, said: "The occupy movement is much bigger than one campsite."

As the varied group - many of whom spent Christmas and the New Year in rain and cold - talk about the future, a group of 10 students from Holland come to shake hands and take photos with the campers.

Seradal Yeterosa said: "We didn't know it was here but when we saw it we wanted to photograph it. They gave up a lot for what they did."

But his friend, Mehmet Ali Kocamenos, takes another view, saying: "It's pointless, they are wasting their time."

Another passerby, Rebecca Smith-Daniel, shouted to them: "Don't give up guys. What you are doing is amazing."

The hacker group Anonymous has a presence at the camp too. One member, who did not want to be named, disputes the Corporation's argument made in court that the camp could have been there indefinitely.

He said: "We did have an end in sight. None of us wanted to be here indefinitely.

"Maybe staying here means the camp's been defeated but not the cause.

"We arrived here peacefully and we'd like to leave peacefully too."

He said that after many nights sleeping in the shadow of the historic building, among the most enduring memories would be the sound of the cathedral's bells.

"The bells, they ring every hour and during the course of the hour. That's what I'll miss most."

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