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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Protest Update

St Paul's Cathedral yesterday closed its doors to the public. The first time since World War II. The protesters gathered in the afternoon to discuss the letter from the Dean, in which he sited health and safety reasons for the closure and asked that the protesters end their occupation. You can read more on this discussion in the BBC's report here.

10 comments:

Adullamite said...

The thoughtlessness of the protesters playing games amazes me. Why not protest at the stock exchange or at a bank in Canary Wharf?

Sharon said...

If I was there visiting, that would be a bit disappointing.

Jenny Woolf said...

To be honest I don't see why they have to protest at St. Pauls and why it can't be somewhere else. I would have thought a bank HQ would be far far more appropriate instead of putting the people at St Pauls into a fix.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

The world is going mad! We're hosting CHOGM here in Perth at the end of this month and the protestors are getting all geared up to disrupt as much as they can.

Jack said...

The protesters have had fairly widespread understanding and sympathy so far, but when they branch out to affect a wider range of targets -- like St. Paul -- I expect they will provoke a backlash. The same thing happened in the 60s and 70s.

Karine said...

I completely agree with closing St. Paul's in this case. Why protest there and put the faithful and visitors at risk? It's ridiculous.

imajoebob said...

Wow, these comments show the banksters are waging a successful propaganda war.

The protesters are at St Paul's because it's the closest public are to the Exchange they are allowed to congregate (gotta protect those rich folks). Also, the property is CofE, so it is a de facto public space. As taxpayers they have MORE right to be there than any tourists.

There has been no interruption in any activity at the Cathedral. In fact, there was a memorial service conducted shortly before the closing, and attendees said the protesters were polite, deferential, and in NO WAY disruptive. Busloads of hordes of tourists are far more "disruptive" to the flow of business at the Cathedral than the protesters.

The only reason to close the church is because a group of WEALTHY INFLUENTIAL patrons don't like "their" church being used as the focus of the protests. And possibly disrupting all that cash they make off the tourists.

It's the ultimate irony: The money changers are locked INSIDE the temple, trying to throw out those trying to help the poor and less advantaged ("Jesus' work").

IleDuLevant said...

For those unfamiliar with London, the London Stock Exchange is on the opposite side of Paternoster Square to the cathedral (see Mo's BBC link) and the police had barred access to this square, hence the protesters' presence outside St Paul's, i.e. the next-nearest open space.

I walked past the cathedral yesterday afternoon and my impression was of a peaceful, orderly demonstration, with at least two protesters giving what amounted to presentations/discussions (one complete with flip-chart) to those of the general public prepared to stop and listen. No noise or chanting, nor any blocking of access by unruly crowds. There seemed to be a healthy mix of all ages and both genders, although this might change when the weather turns colder or more extreme groups hijack proceedings.

My walk (with bike) was completely unhindered, except not being able to cross Paternoster Square, and I noted the cathedral's steps were completely clear.

I found myself wondering if the closure of St Paul's is not so much a health and safety issue as a ploy to turn public opinion against the protesters, who have made it clear that they plan a long-term presence.

As an aside, it has been suggested that the two large fountain basins in Trafalgar Square were added in the inter-war years to split up any large gatherings. And a tourist-friendly proposal a few years ago by Lord Foster to pedestrianise part of Parliament Square was rejected, perhaps through fear of encouraging demonstrations right outside the Palace of Westminster. The present square is cut-off by traffic on all four sides, with no formal pedestrian crossings to access the middle.

IleDuLevant said...

Ah, I now see imajoebob has just beaten me to it.

imajoebob said...

@IleDuLevant - No competition at all. Your eye witness account is even better than my aggregation of reports.

The worst behaved demonstration I ever witnessed in my time in London wasn't by any "leftie" progressive group, but by the fox hunters, a rather well-to-do, conservative group (including a protest against university tuition hikes and the epic Iraq war protest). Despite their tiny size (<100) they were able to shut down Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge, and required a phalanx of riot police surrounding them.

All I've seen is the MP in their yellow vests. Must be a really unruly crowd!

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