Organisers of the Occupy London protest have said they have no intention of leaving their camp outside St Paul’s cathedral, despite recent pleas from the bishop of London, the dean of St Paul’s, the City of London Corporation (the local authority for the Square Mile), and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
St Paul’s cathedral is expected to reopen today after the protestors rearranged the camp. The cathedral had been forced to close over fears for health and safety.
As the protest enters its 14th day, the cathedral is still reeling from the resignation of its canon chancellor, Giles Fraser, yesterday.
Fraser said in subsequent interviews that he quit because he did not agree with plans to launch legal action to remove the demonstrators.
He told the Guardian that “the church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence,” suggesting that using police and bailiffs to remove the demonstrators could result in violent clashes.
He added that he could not face the idea that the decision to launch legal action would result in “Dale Farm on the steps of St Paul’s”.
The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe, has conceded that the police are in the last stages of assessing whether to clear the camp under the Public Order Act.
Meanwhile, the activists have published their first list of demands, calling for the democratic reform of the the City of London Corporation.
The statement described City institutions as “unconstitutional and unfair”.
It added that demonstrators wished to see an end to the City’s own police force and judicial system, which the Occupy movement suggested allows the Square Mile too much freedom to run its own affairs.
“The risk-taking of the banks has made our lives precarious – they are accountable to no one but themselves, unduly influencing government policy across the centuries both at home and abroad. This is not democracy,” the statement said.