London

'Occupy London' start camp in Finsbury Square

  • 22 October 2011
  • From the section London
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Anti-capitalist protesters have started a second camp in London - as a demonstration outside St Paul's Cathedral entered its seventh day.

About 30 tents have been put up in Finsbury Square in London's business district.

The move came as up to 300 protesters from Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) refused to leave the front of St Paul's.

The cathedral has been closed since Friday amid safety concerns.

Image caption A protester lies in her tent in Finsbury Square

OccupyLSX said it had been working "to accommodate the cathedral's concerns".

The group says it is protesting against "corporate greed".

Although the cathedral was closed to tourists, a planned wedding did take place on Saturday.

Rather than using the cathedral's grand entrance, bride Natasha Ighodaro, an account manager for a PR company, entered through a side door.

The bride smiled broadly as she left the service, saying: "It's been amazing. There hasn't been any disruption at all - it's been wonderful, really amazing."

Meanwhile, some of her guests offered support to the activists.

John Giles, from Godalming in Surrey, said: "I think there are valuable comments being made and it seems to have been done in a peaceful way.

"They have a democratic right to protest."

A spokesman for the cathedral - which costs £20,000 per day to run and draws between 2,000 and 3,000 worshippers each Sunday - said it would lose about £16,000 in visitor donations for every day it is closed.

City of London Police said it would not comment on how many officers were attending the protest.

Image caption Bride Natasha Ighodaro arrives for her wedding at St Paul's Cathedral

A police spokesman said "dynamic policing" was in place.

"We are communicating with protesters, the cathedral and local businesses to ensure sufficient policing response to facilitate peaceful protest," he said.

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

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

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 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," the letter said.

OccupyLSX protesters said they had tried to answer such concerns, reorganising their camp "in response to feedback from the fire brigade".

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