Police ordered out of St. Paul's as protesters allowed in

October 17, 2011

LONDON (RNS) Scores of anti-corporate demonstrators invaded London's
historic St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday (Oct. 16), but police who tried
to stop them were told to leave by church officials.


The protesters -- who were targeting the global financial system as
part of worldwide demonstrations against corporate greed -- were
welcomed into the 17th-century cathedral, and services went on
uninterrupted.


The protesters were allowed to continue their presence into Monday,
provided they did not interfere with tourists.


The Rev. Giles Fraser, the cathedral's canon chancellor who took
steps to ease tensions, told reporters that "I am very much in favor of
people's rights to protest peacefully," and said he asked the police to
leave the building "because I didn't feel it needed that sort of
protection."


The demonstrators, some wearing masks and others waving banners,
camped out in tents around St. Paul's and preached their defiance of
bankers and financial institutions from the cathedral's steps.


The protesters milled in and around the cathedral well into Monday,
and authorities left them alone as long as the demonstrations remained
peaceful.


The London protest, calling itself the Occupy London Stock Exchange
action, was part of a worldwide demonstration of anger against
capitalism and greed in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome and Tokyo as well as
the wellspring of the movement, Wall Street and other parts of New York
City.


One masked protester in London said the string of protests was to
"challenge the bankers and the financial institutions which recklessly
gambled our economy."