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St Paul’s drops eviction action against Occupy LSX protest

However, protesters at the St Paul’s camp are expected to be told to clear their tents within 48 hours by the City of London Corporation.

File photo of the Occupy LSX camp at St Paul's.
File photo of the Occupy LSX camp at St Paul's.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Updated at 2.00pm

ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL in London has issued a statement saying it is dropping its legal action seeking the eviction of the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters camped outside the cathedral.

The cathedral said that the resignation of its dean Graeme Knowles yesterday gave it an “opportunity to reassess the situation”:

Members of Chapter [of St Paul's] this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul’s intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church.

The Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres has invited the former chief of UBS Europe Ken Costa to participate in talks with the church and City of London figures.

St Paul’s also said that talks would involve Giles Fraser, the senior priest who resigned over his concerns that efforts to force the protesters out could end in violence.

Former Dean Knowles had sought to evict the demonstrators.

The protest group said in a statement on its website yesterday that it had not sought any “scalps” over the cathedral’s reaction to its camp. It also emphasised “the need for open and transparent dialogue involving all parties, including the Cathedral, the Corporation of London and others, through our relevant liaison groups”.

Eviction

However, the protesters are not clear of the threat of eviction just yet: demonstrators at the Occupy LSX camp at St Paul’s Cathedral are expected to be formally told to remove their tents today or face legal action from the City of London Corporation.

The corporation voted last week to press ahead with legal action to remove the protest camp. Its chairman of policy and resources Stuart Fraser said that the camp’s position in a busy thoroughfare is a serious issue:

We have no problem with a peaceable 24-hour protest by people without tents – provided the highway is fully usable – but campsites and important highways don’t mix.

The corporation is expected to notify protesters today that they have 48 hours to voluntarily leave the St Paul’s site before High Court proceedings are pursued.

A protest camp in Glasgow faces similar legal action, as council officials pursue an eviction order against the camp based in the city’s George Square.

Police are separately investigating allegations that a woman was raped in a tent at the camp late last week.

Meanwhile, the Occupy Dame Street protest in Dublin is planning to gather outside the Department of Finance today to demonstrate against the repayment of an unsecured Anglo bond.

Read: Occupy Dame Street to hold protest against bondholder payout >

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