Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

St Paul's protesters debate leaving

People listening to speakers at the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration outside St Paul's Cathedral, London

Anti-capitalist protesters have begun discussing the possibility of leaving their camp outside St Paul's as religious leaders voiced their support for the group.

A voluntary debate took place within the "tent city" after a demonstrator raised the issue before a crowd of hundreds on the steps of the landmark.

Identifying herself only as Sarah, she said: "I think it is a good idea to debate the possibility of moving from St Paul's into two different camps."

She invited demonstrators to a formal debate on the issue and was greeted with a mixture of boos, cheers and heckles, including shouts of "bad Christians", from the gathered throng.

The protester was speaking before Christian leaders threw their support behind the Occupy London movement, which is facing possible eviction from St Paul's after it was forced to close for a week because of the camp.

The cathedral reopened on Friday after shutting its doors for the first time since the Second World War.

St Paul's and the City of London Corporation announced that they would seek separate High Court injunctions in a bid to clear more than 200 tents which have been outside the cathedral for two weeks. But it could take months of legal wrangling before any eviction can take place.

The Dean of St Paul's, Reverend Graeme Knowles, and the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chatres, are due to meet protesters outside the cathedral.

But Reverend Paul Nicolson, of the Church of England, criticised them in a "sermon on the steps". "I do not think they understand the enormity of the injustice that has happened and is happening now," he said.

The Rev Nicolson was joined by Christian charity workers, a Rabbi, humanists, agnostics and other religious leaders in the rally.

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