Occupy London protestors urged to leave St Paul's

Occupy London protestors camped outside St Paul's Cathedral.
Oli Scarff

UPDATE: The dean of St Paul's said on Wednesday night that the cathedral may be able to reopen by midday Friday, reports the BBC. Protestors are still there but have made some adjustments to their camp to reduce safety risks, Dean Graeme Knowles said. A final decision will be taken on Thursday.

On a day when police forcibly cleared protestors from Occupy protests in Oakland and Atlanta, it seems authorities everywhere are getting fed up of the global anti-capitalist movement.

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) protestors had made their point and "have to go", the BBC reports.

Johnson and the City of London Corporation, the body that governs central London, will hold meetings Thursday and Friday to decide whether to take legal action against the protestors, according to the Guardian.

Officials at St Paul's Cathedral, where protestors have been camped out for 11 days, have also urged the demonstrators to leave.

Bishop of London Richard Chartres said the movement had raised interesting questions, but could not continue:

"The time has come for the protesters to leave, before the camp's presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address."

Protestors say they are open to dialogue with the cathedral authorities, but plan to maintain the occupation for several more weeks.

Relations between protestors and St Paul's have deteriorated since the occupation began 11 days ago. Protestors set up camp outside the cathedral's north and west wing after being turned away from their original target, a nearby shopping center. They were defended by members of the clergy, with Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser telling police to back off and leave the "respectful" protestors in peace.

Yet the tone changed when St Paul's was forced to close for health and safety reasons on Friday. The closure, estimated to be costing the cathedral £20,000 a day, has become the cathedral's longest in living memory, according to the Telegraph.

Clergy have denied they want the protestors to move on for commercial reasons, however.

Boris Johnson said the camp was causing problems on a number of fronts:

"You have got a situation in which London businesses, tourism, the cathedral, the ability of people to worship, I'm told, is being disrupted."

The Guardian's editorial criticizes the cathedral's efforts to shift the occupiers:

The congregations who come for [prayer and worship], the real purposes of the building, should remember that Jesus talked to publicans and tax collectors. He might even have talked to merchant bankers. He would certainly have talked to the protesters camped outside.

There are signs that worshippers themselves are not opposed to the occupiers' presence. A group of St Paul's parishioners plans to hold a weekly "flashmob" service in the middle of the OLSX camp every Tuesday, reports the Telegraph, complete with full choir.

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