Better article on today's Occupy London eviction
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Tue Feb 28 11:59:06 GMT 2012
St Paul's eviction a sad day, says clergyman who quit
Martha Linden , Diana Pilkington - Tuesday 28 February 2012
A former senior figure at St Paul's has attacked
the eviction of anti-capitalist protesters from
the steps of the cathedral as a terrible sight
and a sad day for the Church of England.
Giles Fraser, who resigned as canon chancellor of
St Paul's rather than see the protesters evicted
by force, spoke of his dismay after seeing the
camp cleared more than four months after the occupation began.
"Riot police clearing the steps of St Paul's
Cathedral was a terrible sight. This is a sad day for the Church," he said.
Dr Fraser's remarks come after he tweeted that he
was "really proud" of the way Occupy protesters
had conducted themselves during the eviction.
According to the Occupy London website, Dr Fraser
was prevented from crossing police lines to reach the site last night.
"Giles Fraser, who is so much a part of this
story, was prevented from crossing the police
lines to reach the Occupy London Stock Exchange
site tonight," the website said.
"We would have liked to see him there."
Bailiffs and police arrived at the site early
this morning, five days after Occupy London was
refused permission by the Court of Appeal to
challenge orders evicting protesters.
City of London Police said 20 people were
arrested in the "largely peaceful" operation.
The City of London Corporation confirmed that the
removal of tents and equipment outside St Paul's had been completed.
Stuart Fraser, policy chairman of the City of
London Corporation, said: "It is regrettable that
it had to come to the need for removal but the
High Court judgment speaks for itself.
"The site has now been cleared and the area is undergoing a deep clean.
"Some areas of the site may be cordoned off
during this cleaning but we will complete the
work as quickly as possible, in order to return the site to its regular use."
The statement said High Court enforcement
officers employed by the corporation had
undertaken the removal with the support of the
police to ensure public safety and maintain order.
"The City of London Corporation ensured any
vulnerable people at the site were helped and
supported to find appropriate accommodation in
partnership with Broadway, a charity for the homeless," it said.
Granting orders for possession and injunctions
against Occupy London at the High Court last
month, Mr Justice Lindblom said the proposed
action by the City of London Corporation - which
it pledged not to enforce pending appeal - was
"entirely lawful and justified", as well as necessary and proportionate.
The appeal judges, headed by Master of the Rolls
Lord Neuberger, said the protesters had raised no arguable case.
The corporation called on campers to remove their tents voluntarily.
Although some remained on site when police
arrived, many began dismantling the equipment before bailiffs moved in.
Gary Sherborne, 50, said: "We haven't got any
choice and I'd rather protect the tent for
another day without it being destroyed by the bailiffs."
Meanwhile, a group of protesters remained
defiant, waving flags and banging tambourines on
top of a makeshift wooden structure facing the cathedral.
The platform was eventually dismantled by
bailiffs after police in riot gear surrounded it.
Campaigners were also cleared from the steps of the cathedral.
An Occupy London spokesman said its School of
Ideas in a disused school building in Islington,
north London, had also been evicted.
Supporter Kai Wargalla, a 27-year-old student
from Germany who has been camping at St Paul's
since the occupation began on October 15, said:
"It's really sad what's happening today but I
think we can be proud of what we've achieved. Our
community is being attacked here, but we're going
to reconvene and come back stronger."
She said many of the campers from St Paul's
planned to go to one of the group's other sites
in Finsbury Square instead, and extra tents would
be put up following the unexpected eviction from the School of Ideas.
Ms Wargalla was one of a number of trained "legal
observers" who were monitoring the eviction
process on behalf of the campaigners and reminding them of their rights.
Commenting on today's eviction, Ms Wargalla said:
"We hadn't expected to be evicted from the
cathedral steps because previously the church has
said it would give us sanctuary when there's a violent eviction.
"There was also some really unnecessary tension
and stress caused by the police when they told us
we had five minutes to take our things from the camp."
She added: "It wasn't that violent today, but the
violence we did see came from the police and the bailiffs."
The protest forced a week-long closure of the
cathedral in late October, the first time it had
been closed since the Second World War, after
officials received a report by health and safety officials.
The cathedral, which has been the focal point for
royal celebrations including Queen Victoria's
Jubilee and the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to
the Prince of Wales on July 29 1981, is one of
London's best-loved tourist attractions and draws
between 2,000 and 3,000 worshippers each Sunday
but costs £20,000 per day to run.
It also staged the funerals of Lord Nelson, the
Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, the
peace services marking the end of the First and
Second World Wars, and more recently the service
of remembrance and commemoration for the September 11 terrorist attacks.
During the closure, Dr Fraser resigned, saying he
feared the church was set on a course of action
which could lead to protesters being moved by force.
The Dean of St Paul's also later resigned. The Rt
Rev Graeme Knowles said it had been "a testing
time" and mounting criticism made it
"increasingly clear" that his position was "untenable".
Protesters have received support from
high-profile figures including fashion designer
Dame Vivienne Westwood and playwright Alan Bennett.
Occupy London spokesman George Barda, 36, who had
been camped outside St Paul's for four-and-a-half
months, said they heard at about 11.20pm that police were gathering nearby.
"Pretty much as the clock struck 12, we heard
that they were on the move to us, so from my
point of view, sitting in my tent as I got the
news, it was a question of packing up as much of
my stuff as I could and being ready for them arriving," he said.
He maintained the decision by the court was
unjust, saying: "But the main thing was that it
remained peaceful. We said publicly many times
that this is a non-violent movement and it did remain peaceful.
"There were some arrests but only for resisting
arrest and the main thing to focus on is the
reasons we are here and not the drama of what happened last night.
"Millions of people are already suffering from
the cuts and they have barely got going.
"And these cuts are entirely unnecessary, they're
economically illiterate and there is money to pay
for the things we need, it's just in the hands of the people at the top."
He said the eviction did not spell the end of the protest.
"The corporation made it very clear that they
have nothing supposedly against protest,
assembly, free speech in this area, just the
tents and the bedding that have now been removed," he said.
"So we will very much be back to this space where
people have been assembling for 800 years next year.
"What we are saying is very simple - there is
money to pay for the things we need, we need to
get it from those who can afford it.
"This isn't about a class war, it's about being
sensible about what our society needs."
St Paul's Cathedral said in a statement: "In the
past few months, we have all been made to
re-examine important issues about social and
economic justice and the role the cathedral can play.
"We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs
but we are fully committed to continuing to
promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute.
"The cathedral is open today and set aside for
prayer and reflection. The cathedral is accessible to everyone.
"The area currently cordoned off is for essential repairs to damaged paving.
"Clergy are available throughout the day for pastoral care and support."
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that
shall not be made known. What I tell you in
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27
Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Diggers350