Talks continue on St Paul's and protest closure decision

 

The BBC's Ben Ando says the protest outside St Paul's is costing the cathedral £16,000 a day in lost tourism revenue.

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Senior staff at St Paul's Cathedral are continuing to meet City of London Corporation (CLC) officials over the decision to close it - the first time since World War II.

Up to 300 protesters from Occupy London Stock Exchange have now been camped in the churchyard for a week and have refused to leave.

The dean has cited health and safety concerns for the closure decision.

One CLC member called on them to disband in a peaceful manner.

The cathedral would normally attract thousands of visitors on a Saturday but they will be turned away although some weddings and other services are expected to take place.

Sunday services have also been suspended.

The action by the cathedral authorities and the Dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, follows appeals to the group whose numbers have grown during the week in protest at what they call "corporate greed and inequality".

Dean Knowles: "The decision to close St Paul's Cathedral is unprecedented in modern times"

In a statement published on the cathedral's website, Dean Knowles said they were left with "no lawful alternative" but to close St Paul's.

The decision had been taken "with a heavy heart" but it was "simply not possible to fulfil our day to day obligations to worshippers, visitors and pilgrims in current circumstances".

"With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a clear fire hazard," he said.

"Then there is the public health aspect, which speaks for itself."

'Not a stunt'

"The dangers relate not just to cathedral staff and visitors but are a potential hazard to those encamped," it added.

But the protesters claim they have tried to answer such concerns, reorganising their camp "in response to feedback from the fire brigade".

OccupyLSX said in a statement they had been working "to accommodate the cathedral's concerns in any way we can".

The protesters have however, decided to continue with the action following a meeting which is thought to have taken place on Friday.

One of the group, who gave her name as Lucy, said: "This protest is massive, it affects everybody, everyone's watching at home right now.

"It's not just about a few people who have got some tents in St Paul's, it's not a stunt, it's not a spectacle."

Stuart Fraser, policy and resources committee chairman on the CLC, said he was still hopeful "common sense will prevail" and that those camping around the cathedral "will recognise that they are damaging the integrity of their protest by their actions - and they decide to disband in a peaceful manner".

The area around St Paul's Cathedral
 

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  • Comment number 459.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 458.

    What's happening here? Oh wait.. they're making their point, apparently..

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 457.

    Who says St Paul's is the wrong place to set up the camp? just look at the members on St paul's Board, this is certainly the right place for the Camp. The Board is stuffed with the Bankers. I wish that the Bankers and Police and the ex-Regulator etc that fill St Paul's Board have the courtesy to come out to tell the Public the real reason they closed St Paul's.

  • Comment number 456.

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

  • Comment number 455.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 454.

    So it's "Corporate Greed" on one side and "Religious Greed" on the other. St. Paul's isn't the only church in London, they just want to stry open so they can continue to fleece tourists.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 453.

    The wedding at St Paul’s is going on unperturbed by peaceful protesters in the vicinity ... and what a bonny bride! May I wish them both a prosperous (one can hope!) and happy future :) Hope someone recorded their brief and unexpected television appearance.

  • Comment number 452.

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

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 451.

    st pauls shut because of a little old primus stove?!? but not shut when the nazi's dumped firebombs on it??? pathetic - health and safety gone bonkers yet again.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 450.

    @441

    "Still confused as to why St Pauls has been chosen"

    It wasn't really, They were blocked off from Paternoster Square and the LSX. If the barricades were removed I'm sure they'd be more than happy to relocated there.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 449.

    One only has to look at the squalor of their camp to realise that this "protest" is a serious menace to public health.

    The waste these people produce will attract rats and their lack of personal hygiene will encourage outbreaks of lice and contagious diseases.

    Turn the water canon on them now!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 448.

    No:429 I agree with the biased media reporting in general of these protests, but remember, who owns and controls the media is a HUGE factor in this whole issue...look what happened when the BBC tried to take on the government over the imaginary 'weapons of mass destruction' issue...GOT TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS !

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 447.

    If health & safety is a serious consideration at demo then surely the double doors in the houses of parliament should be made much much wider.

    I mean, have you seen the size of the ears on many of its members, surely a fire escape hazard.

    The alternative is for the ears to be removed as they dont really function as they do not listen to the public, whether on EU petition or whatever.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 446.

    439.
    Anarcho-libertarian
    I would be delighted to see the water cannon turned on these people if they refuse to leave.
    ___

    You obviously feel that repression has entertainment value then!

    May i suggest you visit Syria, you'll get all the entertainment you could ever want there!
    ___

    441.
    K1017728
    Still confused as to why St Pauls has been chosen
    ___

    Because it's public land, nothing more.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 445.

    #439 that's exactly what they want. It would be a huge victory to get removed by force. Far better to let the cold weather do its thing. I mean its such a pathetic number that they actually are no bother. Let them continue their pointless ego trip. How many millions of public places to occupy...and they can manage just one. Like I said, its embarrassing when you put it in perspective ;-)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 444.

    Down with this sort of thing!

    Ted Krilley and Dougal Macguire

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 443.

    If I have read and followed this story correctly, I believe that the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 covers what is happening in the churchyard and the distruption to the services. But then who am I to pass comment.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 442.

    The lunatic fringe in the lowest rated comments speak VOLUMES as to why these protests need to be prolonged.

    "leftie chav benefit scrounger liberal soya latte drinking champagne socialist public service worker layabout scum single parent mother everything I have been told to hate about society but have no clue why I'm all right jack flibble flobble" drivel.

    Is that all you have! Hate?

    Pathetic!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 441.

    I had to do some work for university at St Pauls, evidently I now can't. I'd have no problem if they protestors were respecting their principles, but seeing them pop into Starbucks, using iPods and so on seems hypocritical. Still confused as to why St Pauls has been chosen - a couple of hastily picked bible passages seem the only explanation, and dare to ask, and you're told to 'find out yourself'

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 440.

    @DaveLEEDS - St. Paul's is free if you wish to go in and pray or sit quietly in St Dunstan's Chapel. Whether they can even enforce a charge elsewhere I am not sure. I suspect not as it is a house of God, but if that is the case it will be in small letters.

 

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