City of London: Protest continues for third day
- 17 October 2011
- From the section UK
Demonstrators protesting against "corporate greed" are spending a third day camped out in London's financial district.
Some 250 protesters were reported to be outside St Paul's Cathedral on Monday morning, with about 100 tents.
The area was the scene of protests by between 2,000 and 3,000 people on Saturday.
The demonstration is part of a global campaign inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.
The US protest has been going on for about four weeks and has spread to countries including Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.
The BBC's Ben Ando said the London protesters had formed groups to organise food and sanitation, and were determined to stay. He said there was still access for local workers and demonstrators seemed to be at a "perfectly peaceful impasse".
One protester, James Sevitt, said reactions from passing workers had been "mixed", with some just walking past and others engaging in conversation.
"This is about getting beyond the 'us versus them'. We all live within the same system," he said. "We're really focused on building a community which really demonstrates the innovation, solidarity and just the human-to-human contact and community that we want."
'Authentic global equality'
Demonstrator Belinda Singh told the BBC that protesters wanted to have "some kind of communication with the elite" and had drawn up a manifesto.
"We're here because we want an equal distribution of wealth, we want minorities to have a voice, we want the corrupt system to be changed," she said. "We hope to build a community here and stay here as long as possible."
Organising group Occupy LSX later posted an initial statement on its website in which it said the "current system" was unsustainable.
It called for:
- Structural change towards "authentic global equality"
- An end to the actions of those causing oppression
- An end to global tax injustice
- Regulators who are "genuinely independent" of the industries they regulated
The statement also expressed support for the strike planned for 30 November and actions to "defend our health services, welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing".
Self-employed window cleaner and protester James Awberry said he expected the demonstrators to be stereotyped but that there were many "normal, hardworking" people among them.
"It's not just a bunch of hippies. We're not a single issue and we're not a one-day march. The reason why protests have never worked and never changed anything before is because they're generally speaking for a single issue for a single day. This is many issues for as long as it takes."
Foreign Secretary William Hague on Sunday said that protests were not the answer, but the Green Party on Monday pledged its support to the protests in London and around the world.
Green Party leader and MP Caroline Lucas said: "The camp that has been set up a stone's throw from London Stock Exchange is an opportunity to explore a different kind of future to the one the mainstream political parties have constructed."
On Monday, St Paul's Cathedral issued a statement saying the past few days had "not been without various challenges" and it was monitoring the situation carefully and keeping in touch with police and community leaders.
"Our chief concern is that St Paul's be allowed to operate as normally as possible and for all people to be respectful of this need," the statement said.
Barricades and police remain at nearby Paternoster Square, home to the London Stock Exchange, where demonstrators had initially tried to set up camp on Saturday.
Eight people were arrested over the weekend, of which six have been charged for offences including affray and cannabis possession.
A 41-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of assaulting police officers has been released on bail while a 17-year-old female remains in custody on suspicion of assault on police.
There have been no reports of any injuries, police said.
A section 60AA order - which gives officers the power to force people to remove masks covering their faces - is also currently in place in the City of London.