Activists demonstrating against corporate greed in London’s financial district have held their ground for a month, but authorities said Wednesday that they must leave the area within 24 hours.
The protest has sparked debate that reached to politicians and clerics as well as city officials and prompted the resignation of high-profile cathedral clergy who support the protesters.
City officials have blamed health and safety issues related to the encampment for the decision to close the cathedral's doors to the public for the first time since World War II. For some cathedral staff, sympathy for the protesters clashed with city regulations, forcing the staff members into what one of the clerics who resigned called an "untenable" position.
St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London Corp. are joint owners of the cathedral square, where about 200 tents are pitched. Protesters parried earlier City of London Corporation attempts to move them, but Wednesday’s eviction notice demanded they leave by 6 p.m. the next day or an eviction notice would be sought.
For their part, Occupy London protesters said in a statement that they "remain committed to open dialogue and will seek to continue that dialogue with the City of London Corporation, whether they feel willing to continue that process with us or not."
-- Janet Stobart
Photo: An eviction notice from the City of London hangs on a tent outside St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday. Credit: Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters