St Paul's protest: Occupy London camp evicted

 
A bailiff is pulled from a makeshift barricade at the Occupy protest camp Some protesters erected a makeshift barricade, but most moved on peacefully

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Police and bailiffs have evicted anti-capitalist protesters and removed tents from the Occupy London camp at St Paul's Cathedral.

The operation, which began just after midnight, was mostly peaceful but there were 20 arrests.

A St Paul's spokesman said: "We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs."

The City of London Corporation said it "regretted" that it had become necessary to evict the protesters.

Occupy London, which campaigns against corporate greed, set up the camp on 15 October.

The campaigners were refused permission to appeal against a High Court decision to allow their eviction to proceed.

Police have moved in to remove protesters from their camp outside St Paul's Cathedral

The Rev Giles Fraser, who resigned as canon chancellor of St Paul's in support of the protesters, said: "This is a sad day for the Church.

"Riot police clearing the steps of St Paul's Cathedral was a terrible sight."

The St Paul's spokesman 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 are fully committed to continuing to promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute."

Protesters in the square outside the cathedral stressed their action was far from over, but most did not resist police and bailiffs as they removed tents and other equipment from the site.

A handful defied police by erecting a temporary structure from wooden pallets in the square outside St Paul's but the platform was eventually dismantled.

The High Court decided last week that the City of London Corporation's move to evict the camp was "lawful and justified".

The corporation was granted orders of possession and injunctions by the court.

The Court of Appeal's decision not to allow an appeal meant the corporation was free to clear the site.

ANALYSIS

Before midnight rumours were spreading around the Occupy camp suggesting that the site that has been their home for months was about to be cleared.

But there was little the activists could do when dozens of police and bailiffs arrived at St Paul's with a court order to remove the tents which have become part of the landscape here.

As some of the protesters shouted defiance from the cathedral steps the bailiffs went about their business. The tents which made up the Occupy site were unceremoniously dragged into the back of waiting rubbish lorries.

By this time some of the Occupy campaigners had used pallets and wooden shelving to create a barricade which they climbed on - determined to resist attempts to remove them.

There were shouts and scuffles - but little in the way of violence.

Eventually - after a couple of hours the site was finally cleared.

George Barda, one of the five protesters who appealed against the High Court's decision, told the BBC he had "mixed emotions".

But the 36-year-old said: "It's not the beginning of the end, it's the end of the beginning."

He said the eviction did not spell the end of the protest.

"The corporation made it very clear that they have nothing supposedly against protest, assembly, free speech in this area, just the tents and the bedding that have now been removed," he added.

Following the eviction, Occupy London protesters moved to Salvation Army offices by Millennium Bridge, but City of London Police officers moved them on.

Some of the protesters moved to a disused building in Featherstone Street, Islington, which Occupy protesters had called the School of Ideas.

However, the protesters were evicted and the building was being bulldozed on Tuesday.

Dozens more protesters moved to Finsbury Square, Islington, where a separate Occupy camp has been set up for a number of months.

Fences were put up around St Paul's as a City of London cleaning team began a deep clean of the area.

'Maintain order'

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.

Occupy protester George Barda believes the group will continue to grow

"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."

A statement from City of London Police said: "At 12.10 tonight, bailiffs employed by the City of London Corporation began enforcing a High Court order for the removal of tents and equipment outside St Paul's Cathedral.

"Officers from the City of London Police supported by Metropolitan Police are present to ensure public safety, maintain order and facilitate lawful protest."

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "I'm glad that finally the law has taken its course.

"My interest is in the economic interest of the city and I want to make sure the businesses in that area can flourish."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 659.

    The most surprising part about this whole saga is how willfully ignorant so many Brits are about Occupy, protest in general, and the state of their own economy. There are STILL people here pathetically attacking Occupy, even while more revelations are revealed about the wholesale corruption through the Police, Government, Media and Banking.
    Are you all bending over right now?
    Educate yourselves!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 658.

    592. Thats unfair. Many christains today are appalled at what is being done to the poor and sick etc while believing the Rich will pay for what they have done.. though by God. The problem is our media are obsessed with the christain right whose values are not that of Jesus but of Mamon. If our media gave some attention to those christains fighting poverty etc we might have a chance.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 657.

    @ 648. Some Lingering Fog

    Thanks for the info...I was a little concerned that after 2 years it might have been misplaced.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7189466/David-Cameron-warns-lobbying-is-next-political-scandal.html

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 656.

    "631.
    roaminoff
    12 Minutes ago

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules"

    No it wasnt.The moderator hasnt even read it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 655.

    Please explain where all this anti City rhetoric has come from. I am not sure what the city has done to deserve it, although I have been living on a yacht in the West Indies for the last few years after making a fortune from shorting asset backed securities in 2008/09. I have just visited my UK residence in London and was disturbed by the presence of a shabby protest nearby.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 654.

    I'm sorry to see them go, hope we don't forget them too quickly.

    Too often today the right to peaceful protest is twisted by police activity such as kettling and unwarranted arrests. I have respect for the Occupy people who have stuck it out for so long and talked to so many people.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 653.

    Their cause is just - it is just a pity their methods were so flawed.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 652.

    rememberdurruti: The simple fact that people felt the need to protest against corporate greed is a damning indictment on this governments policies

    You are wrong. One can always find 30 people disagreeing with any government policy. It does not mean that the rest of the population think the same.
    This is why camps like that are wrong - they represent only professional protesters, not the people.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 651.

    Should have been removed weeks ago. We need a French or Spanish style civil guard to hammer through these louts.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 650.

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. – Thomas Jefferson 1809

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 649.

    #642 deanarabin
    I appointed my banker and If I do not approve of him I vote with my feet, why don't you try the same?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 648.

    625. Gizzit

    What's become of Cameron's anti-lobbying crusade, and the promised transparency? Anybody know?

    --

    The government's Statutory Register of Lobbyists paper is currently under consultation. All interested parties can comment on it up until 13 April 2012.

    http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm82/8233/8233.asp

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 647.

    Nice to see freedom of speech and the right to protest being upheld by our fine government. The protestors never bothered anyone and the church had allowed them to stay, so why evict them? I wonder if this action would have been taken had they been a pro-capitalist rally? It seems even in a western 'democracy' freedom of speech only extends to those who agree with government policy and ideology.

  • Comment number 646.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 645.

    While I don't agree with the liberals that high-jacked this traditionally Anarchist movement, I have to say I'm very sad to see the front line of the state being all booted up to forcibly remove what was a passive movement which didn't require such force. The hegemony of the state is threatened, we must strike now.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 644.

    Feckless, lazy, dirty, smelly, scroungers, spongers, hippies. Don't matter what they are or what you call them, it's the message. They are right, like it or love it. We live in a world of corporate greed, that which, amongst other things, has brought this country to it's knees and still, they get away with it day after day. Protest with great publicity is the only way to get this message across.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 643.

    'HMRC was found to have forgiven Goldman about £10m of tax & Vodafone as much as £4.75bn. two further companies with similar tax agreements with HMRC..remain secret.'

    'Politicians accused David Hartnett, Britain’s top taxman, of “ripping off” the Treasury...Despite a grilling by the PAC...details of the deals & how HMRC agreed them remained murky...'

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 642.

    604.Phil Davies
    The protest camp had nothing to do with democracy, it was a band of agitators who decided that they were right and nearly everyone else was wrong. Nobody voted for them, nobody invited them.
    -
    Do please tell me where I can go and vote for my local Banker and add my name to the list approving his/her latest squillion pound bonus. (That would be real democracy at work)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 641.

    I would just like to say this

    "get jobs" - I thought the whole point was that they CAN'T get jobs and people are losing theirs everyday so good luck getting one.

    "Still buy food and things from big chains" - Yea they have us by the balls we can't do anythihng.

    "Occupy the banks" - The police would not allow them to do that otherwise they would have (Yes they tried), Reseach people it helps.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 640.

    614.Bossuk
    Try coming up with a workable alternative before criticising others
    ==
    The crticism was that it is not a simple choice between capitlism or communism. There are other alternatives, the one I mentioned being one. And something that hasn't been tried, so how do you KNOW it is unworkable?

 

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