Day 8: #OccupyLSX
Report by Paul Feldman and pictures by Peter Arkell
The City of London Corporation – the banker’s own local council – is holding what is described as an “urgent meeting” with church authorities today to find ways of evicting the Occupation London Stock Exchange excampment outside St Paul’s cathedral.
Last Friday, the cathedral’s dean asked the occupation to fold its tents and go. He closed St Paul’s, citing health and safety considerations, laying off cathedral workers in what can only be described as a a provocation.
Tourists, who have to pay £14.50 to enter Wren’s masterpiece – and even worshippers were turned away. But if the move was intended to drive Occupy LSX away, it failed miserably.
A general assembly held after the dean’s announcement agreed to maintain the occupation. A statement by Occupy LSX said that it had tried to accommodate the cathedral’s concerns.
The site had been reorganised in response to feedback from the fire brigade and the occupation had accepted the presence of two barriers to preserve access. No concerns about health and safety had been raised by outside authorities.
“We believe the Cathedral is also concerned about their visitor numbers. We have endeavoured to ensure that our schedule does not conflict with the Cathedral’s, so that their normal operations are not impaired. Clearly, we have become another tourist attraction on the Cathedral’s doorstep – but, since we are not a commercial concern, we are struggling to understand how we have had any financial impact on the Cathedral’s revenues.”
Since the cathedral’s closure, an overflow camp has been set up in nearby Finsbury Square.
City of London Corporation officials are apparently waiting for the church to take the initiative on the legal front. Ancient deeds show that the churchyard is a patchwork of different plots and this will need disentangling before court action can proceed, according to media reports.
24 October 2011