St Paul's camp: Occupy London is 'tourist attraction'


Friday's closure decision is said to be costing the cathedral about £16,000 a day in lost tourism revenue

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Protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral have become a tourist attraction, creating "a booming trade" for some local businesses, organisers have said.

The cathedral in London closed its doors on Friday, saying the activists' camp created health and safety issues.

But demonstrators "have done so much to ensure that St Paul's can remain open", said Ronan McNern, spokesman for Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX).

Campaign group UK Uncut has said it will join the activists.

It planned a march to Whitehall on Monday afternoon, to demand the resignation of HM Revenue and Customs' chief executive, Dave Hartnett.

It claims Revenue and Customs allows some big companies to avoid making certain payments.

'Good relations'

The OLSX protesters have been camped at the site since 15 October, highlighting what they call corporate greed and inequality.

They have refused several requests from church officials to move on.

The cathedral said it was losing up to £20,000 a day and held its Sunday services in private for the first time since 1940.

The Reverend Rob Marshall said it had been a "difficult week" for St Paul's, but "we continue to have quite good relations with those outside in the tents".

"We're still in dialogue with the protesters and asking them to move peacefully," he said.

What's the point of the protest?

In the Times Libby Purves urges protesters to move on because she says "it is impossible to think of any clear, feasible action by an elected government that would satisfy and shift them".

But protesters Naomi Colvin and Kai Wargalla say in the Guardian that not having a set agenda is deliberate. "We're in the business of defining process, and specific demands will evolve from this in time" they say.

Mr McNern said it was "the cathedral's decision to close, supposedly for health and safety reasons".

"But the rest of the restaurants and cafes around the square are doing a booming trade and have no health and safety issues.

"It's great to see tourists taking an interest, and hopefully that will help us get the dialogue we want so we can change the current situation," he added.

A second camp has now been set up in Finsbury Square by campaigners to ease numbers, but those outside St Paul's have pledged to remain there indefinitely.

Sean, an 18-year-old civil servant who declined to give his surname, said he was prepared to protest until Christmas Day and beyond.

The teenager, who said he had taken a week off work, said: "We have the food and power to stay on and we are abiding by hygiene standards.

"We are not against the church."

The area around St Paul's Cathedral

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  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    310. budgood ’The right wing vitriol expressed here betrays personal investment many have in status quo & the reasoning's no credit to their incredulous positioning.’
    Eh? I still don’t know what your point is?

    People across the political spectrum are unhappy about this disruptive demo by rent-a-mob, & the ‘protesters’ have no point, no objective, & no support from 'Joe Public'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    335.ESSIRITUSSANTOS. Whilst I admire your vision of a perfect society, I'm inclined to be a little more realistic about the prospects of actually achieving it. Ideology around equal wealth is reliant on 100% of the people sharing it. Maybe you could try campaigning for lower taxes and subsidised lending for small businesses, reastically achievable and would have a direct impact on job creation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    might i take this opportunity to express my full support for the protestors, they are wonderful people, giving up their comfort and their time for the good of the people, true defenders of democacy.
    ridiculed on these boards by worthless wordsmiths who sit in comfort and spit out childish insults.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    Get these protestors OUT of our city NOW! Sick and tired of the same people trying to ruin things for everyone because they are too lazy to go to work or do anything USEFUL for society.
    LAZY SCROUNGERS the lot of 'em!

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    Wasn't it UK Uncut who urged its followers to join in protests "dressed as a worker"? How jolly exciting it must have been for them to dress up as a builder or baker for the day. I wonder what clothing they'll be taking out of mummy's "dressing up box" this time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    The Dean of St Paul's is only a building manager in a cassock.

    The person who should be talking to the protesters should be a religious office holder, such as Richard John Carew Chartres, the Bishop of London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    Message to the all the dissenting hamsters on here. These tough times are not temporary. THIS iS IT!. You want to know what this is all about? Take 90 minutes out of your lives, pull yourselves away from X-Factor or Come Dancing. Get yourself a nice muffin, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, settle down in your best comfy chair and watch 'Inside Job'. Simples.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    St Paul's need for income isn't a sympton of greed, it's a sympton of necessity - all old buildings cost a significant amount in upkeep, particularly one of the size of St Paul's - it does also have staff to pay, none of whom get paid a fortune.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    372. The_Gambler

    Was wondering when you would pop up :)

    You're assuming that I have credit which fuelled the life I 'lead' - what exactly do you know about the life I lead?

    FYI - I have worked, saved and do not have any credit loans etc. Therefore I have not had to 'give up' anything. I live a simple 'no fills' life but I can see the bigger picture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    The politicians destroy our economy - Labour has done it at least twice and the Conservatives couldn't manage it well enough to avoid us being thrown out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism! We will see what they can do this time. Some of us are starting to see through the charred of Government and want to have more suitable politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    It's interesting how often talk about corporate greed used to focus on business' like Tesco shouldering out small high street grocers, and now that people have less money and appreciate cheap food and goods, corporate greed is symbolised by banks...

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Just now
    #339 Graham

    if a political party, tells you that it aims to achieve glabal taxation fairness, that it will close all tax loopholes and will put an end to corporate greed, you will probably vote for it . You will probably not say that you won't listen because there is no detail.

    -Rubbish, of course I would want detail. You'd be a fool not to. Empty promises are easy to make.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    the purpose of religion is not to build beautiful churches or temples,but to cultivate positive human qualities,such as tollerance generosity and is wrong to assume religion and morality have no place in politics,the time is right for the CofE to show it's compassion and not worry over it's bank statment.that is,if the CofE is not the tory party at prayer?

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    372 The_Gambler

    Would that be the same boom period during which my wages stayed the same despite ave. 4.1% inflation while the average cheif executive's salary rose by 300%. Now things are bad my former job no longer exists but strangely all the bosses seem to still be there with no apparent pay cut.

    They made the most out of the good times and lost the least through the bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.


    "Everyone jumping on board the protest train . . ."

    I think that's a bit unlikely: no one can understand the bewildering fares, you are jammed into inadequate and antiquated rolling stock and it's 92 minutes late due to the wrong type of leaves on the line.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    Can anyone really justify the current system where the gap between the rich and poor has become so large. The protesters are there because they believe that things have to change and peaceful protest is all that they are doing.
    St Paul's is lets face it a rich persons place (Try having your wedding there!!) and the greed element has even hit them if they are losing £20,000 a day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    I am in full support of peaceful protests such as one day events. It is a democratic right. As soon as any individual or group decides to set up camp and cause continued disruption they should be moved on. The situation shouldn't have been allowed to get to what it has and it seems it is only going to get worse. Stop it now before the destructive element gets involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    CurlyFries. You may be willing to accept the status quo, and you may be not only willing, bet ready and able to roll over and accept that every time they want more money they can come to you and take it.

    Doesn't mean EVERYONE has to be willing to do this though. And those that aren't have every right to protest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    I wonder where these activists are getting support... I hope its not from my pocket i.e. not on benefits and not getting jobs like the rest of us!

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    Must be another boom coming as now the libyan action has gone we have to replenish those arms stocks. Perhaps we need a new big war to to keep all those corporations and banks in business


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