29 Oct 2011

Cathedral to take legal action against protest camp

5:30 pm on 29 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral in London opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in a week on Friday and announced plans to take legal action to remove an anti-capitalist protest camp from its precincts.

British prime minister David Cameron has indicated the government would consider legislating to prevent demonstrators pitching tents outside London landmarks.

In a coordinated move, the City of London, which owns part of the land the camp is occupying, said it would seek a court injunction to force protesters to dismantle their encampment.

Health and safety concerns about the camp forced St Paul's to close its doors last week for the first time since World War II. The camp began 13 days ago, targeting the London Stock Exchange nearby.

Cathedral authorities have stressed that they object to the tents rather than the protesters, and were reluctant to take legal action.

The chancellor of the cathedral, Giles Fraser, resigned on Thursday when it became clear the cathedral would take legal action to remove the protesters.

Mr Fraser had made clear his sympathy with the protesters' aims and early in the occupation had asked police to leave the cathedral steps.