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Rethink urged on cathedral protest

St Paul's Cathedral could be forced to close its doors to members of the public because of the anti-capitalist protest taking place in its churchyard.

Activists, who have occupied a makeshift campsite outside the main entrance of the house of worship since Saturday, have been asked to move on by church authorities.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange protest is causing a "risk to the life of the cathedral", a spokesman said.

A statement released by the cathedral said: "St Paul's Cathedral stated on Monday that it was still trying to provide worship and welcome to all in spite of the presence of the protest camp in the churchyard.

"St Paul's asked everyone to respect this need and to acknowledge the risk to the life of the cathedral posed by the current situation. The cathedral has managed so far to remain open on a reduced basis.

"The increased scale and nature of the protest camp is such that to act safely and responsibly the cathedral must now review the extent to which it can remain open for the many thousands coming this week as worshippers, visitors and in school parties.

"Is it now time for the protest camp to leave? The consequences of a decision to close St Paul's cannot be taken lightly."

A few days ago Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, said that while he had not given his specific backing to the occupation of St Paul's Churchyard, he supported the democratic right to protest.

However, as the days draw on and more protesters have arrived at the site, it appears the cathedral's authorities have had a change of heart.

Protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York took place all over the world at the weekend and led to violence in Rome.

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