In London, The Guardian‘s Peter Walker and Riazat Butt report St. Paul’s Cathedral may be seeking an injunction against the Occupy London Stock Exchange encampment that would legally force demonstrators to remove themselves from Cathedral property.
The cathedral has been shut since Friday afternoon after its dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said the presence of more than 200 tents and marquees beside the building’s western edge was an unacceptable fire, and health and safety risk. Both he and the cathedral’s canon chancellor, Giles Fraser, have publicly urged the activists to leave. It is the first time the cathedral has been closed since the second world war, and church officials say it is costing St Paul’s around £20,000 a day in lost visitor revenues….
With the deadlock seemingly set to continue, St Paul’s and other nearby institutions have consulted lawyers about possible efforts to forcibly evict the protesters. Cathedral staff were due to hold an emergency meeting with fire officers, police and officials from the Corporation of London, which administers the City district, on Monday. A St Paul’s spokesman, the Reverand Rob Marshall, said the impact of the closure would be felt more intensively next week as tourist numbers swell during half-term.
“The penny is dropping,” he said. “Half-term has started and we’ve got hundreds and thousands of visitors from around the world in London. It will soon begin to dawn that the cathedral will not be open for the foreseeable future. It’s such a chunk of a visitor’s itinerary and there will be a momentum that this is a reality. If there is no sign of movement in the early part of the week there will be further negotiations.”
According to the BBC, private services are being held at St. Paul’s for the first time since 1940.
Meanwhile, the Occupy London Stock Exchange writes:
To the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral,
We are grateful to the Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, for reassuring us that our activities are not harming the Cathedral’s commercial concerns – that has never been our intention. Our intention was to highlight the iniquities of the global economic crisis, in a peaceful manner, especially as the Cathedral has been so hospitable.
We have endeavoured to clarify perceived health and safety issues and continue to place these as a priority for the health and safety of everyone, both inside and outside of this historic Cathedral.
Unfortunately, despite our requests of the Cathedral, they have not provided us with details and information as to how we are perceived to be threatening health and safety. We once again urge the Cathedral to bring to our attention, immediately, the particular details of the health and safety issues to address them. Our concern is if there are health and safety issues (which we in any event refute) by the Church failing to tell of them, they are exacerbating any perceived dangers.
Due to the urgency of the situation you have raised, we would appreciate your immediate response so that we can deal with these concerns.
Occupy London Stock Exchange
Times religion reporter Ruth Gledhill files this video: