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
    +2

    Comment number 787.

    771.Arnold55555
    18 Minutes ago
    One young protester was complaining to me that the banks should not be allowed to print money in the cashpoint machines.

    Economic geniuses all.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    From where does she get her cash?

  • Comment number 786.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 785.

    @781.Richard Savary
    The young protesters - "They have not caused any trouble, to speak of, and are not likely to cause any"
    True, but look what has happened at so many other protests of similar ilk around the country / world in recent years. You only need a handful of rent-a-mob to start trouble. You can't blame St Pauls for being cautious.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 784.

    @774

    Lack the expertise to do what exactly? To evaluate the trememndous financial imbalance between rich and poor? I beg to differ. I, along with most people in this country, can't pretend to be a fiscal maestro, au fait with the economy in all its complexity.

    But it's not necessary if all we want to say is 'stop shafting me and give me a fair deal'. We'll leave the clever bit to you.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 783.

    Whine99 - not funny in the least...crass, anti-democratic, gutter level responses to a serious political issue. You've lost the argument by stooping to such depths. Very poor fare indeed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 782.

    777.JoeR55

    "The pure hatred of the poor by many of the cynical anti-protest brigade is a dangerous threat to democracy long term."

    Seriously, this is a very silly accusation, failing by virtue of being an unevidenced, non-sequitur argument. I'm more saddened people like you think this. Saddended for you, of course. Must be an awful life when you're that paranoid.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 781.

    St. Paul's didn't need to close. The protesters, far from being the crowd of troublemakers the cathedral staff seems to think it is, is rather a crowd of ordinary, downtrodden young Brits who just want a better life. They have not caused any trouble, to speak of, and are not likely to cause any. They are THEMSELVES a good source of local business.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 780.

    Still looking for an honest man, Diogenes?

  • Comment number 779.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 778.

    Interesting wee article about the most influential companies. Ranked number one, our very own, much loved Barclays Plc. Perhpas not the final nail in the coffin, but it certainly highlights the influence financial institutions have in the world.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 777.

    The pure hatred of the poor by many of the cynical anti-protest brigade is a dangerous threat to democracy long term. When their cynicism helps bring down the economies of the west, perhaps they and the pro-protest lobby, can finally sort this out on the streets. God help us all. The 'do nothing get on with it' brigade are bringing this country to it's knees.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 776.

    Just Had a thought, Thinking of contacting Boris and suggesting a protestertax-
    A bit like the congestion charge. Set it at around a tenner a head perr day. This would then pay for the clean up operations and policing of these events. Take a piccy on CCTV and wack em up on a website if they don't cough up. Wonder how many would stay then???

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 775.

    RBS got into such a state the government had to bail it out to the extent RBS is about 84% government owned. The management of RBS continues to pay many £millions in bonus to it's self. Why and how? I would have thought a lot of taxpayers would want to protest but no it would seem the bulk of poster's see nothing wrong. Not sure the protest will achieve anything but best of luck for trying.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 774.

    767.KnowItAllHMM

    No one said it removed your right to an opinion; I pointed out that some demanding change largely don't have the expertise to evaluate the situation. Similarly, I'm not a doctor and don't self-disgnose.

    No one said all reward was material; the point was *freedom*. You are free to nurse (like my gf), and I'm free to raise the tax revenue to fund that non-monetary career.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 773.

    @768.LeroySchwarz
    The question you have to ask though, is; can the worker do the job of the employer ? Are the responsibilities, job requirements of the employer / worker the same ? Unlikely, hence the wage / profit share disparity.
    Tell a bank clerk that if the bank falls they're responsible, and they'll want a few million to shoulder that responsibility.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 772.

    @767. KnowItAllHMM

    Of course it doe not remove your right to an opinion and I hope you do not see my comments as a personal attack. I have nothing against you or the fact that you hold different views to me, but the nature of a debate is that you present the argument against opinions that differ from your own. By all means have your opinion, I just don't think it's feasible.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 771.

    One young protester was complaining to me that the banks should not be allowed to print money in the cashpoint machines.

    Economic geniuses all.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 770.

    I am sure the Dean is a lovely man but the consultants and those who stand behind? You remember those lovely folk the Church Commissioners for instance? A short bus ride from St Paul's is the area they owned that housed at one time the most overcrowded and notorious slums in Europe which yet made more money per square foot than property in Mayfair. I am sure its nothing like that now of course...

  • Comment number 769.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 768.

    758. Mr Max

    Regulation to control wage and profit share disparity of between employers and workers would quickly redistribute wealth more fairly. Why bother? Because a country in which the exploited many are made miserable by the greedy few will quickly become miserable for everybody, rich or poor.

 

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