Friday, 28 October 2011

St Paul's Cathedral: legal action against protesters commences

Updated 4.30 pm

First, the City of London has issued this announcement: City of London Corporation approves court action to remove St Paul’s campsite

Second, there is this announcement from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s: Statement from the Dean and Chapter (28 October 2011)

28 October 2011
The Chapter has previously asked the encampment to leave the cathedral precinct in peace. This has not yet happened and so, following the advice of our lawyers, legal action has regrettably become necessary.

The Chapter only takes this step with the greatest reluctance and remains committed to a peaceful solution. At each step of the legal process the Chapter will continue to entreat the protesters to agree to a peaceful solution and, if an injunction is granted, will then be able to discuss with the protesters how to reach this solution.

Theirs is a message that the Chapter has both heard and shares and looks forward to engaging with the protesters to identify how the message may continue to be debated at St Paul’s and acted upon.

According to the latest report from Riazat Butt in Guardian the tents are the key issue:

“If this [Occupy London] were not a camped protest it would constitute a reasonable user of the highway. The City of London Corporation is not seeking to prevent protest but to limit the exact nature and form of protest it has chosen. A 24-hour non-camped protest would be permissible in this location.”

Stephen Bates has a report of the first service in the re-opened building: St Paul’s congregation swells to hundreds for first lunchtime service and you can read the full text of the Homily given by The Dean of St Paul’s at Eucharist, 28 October 2011

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 October 2011 at 12:22pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

The best way of clearing the protestors would be for St Paul's Cathedral to peal its bells for the night. Few but the canons and caretakers here and there live nearby. There would be nobody there in the morning.

Posted by: John Bowles on Friday, 28 October 2011 at 12:51pm BST

Mr. Bowles seems eager to play the role of Henry Clay Frick, Bull Connor, or Deng Xiaopeng.

I wonder if the cathedral chapter would really like to see what's been playing out in the streets of Oakland California taking place on their steps. Police there fired stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas into the crowds. One young man, an Iraq War veteran, was severely injured with a fractured skull. Far from solving their problems, this action only created more trouble for Oakland starting with an internal police investigation into possible brutality and excessive force, a whole lot of extremely bad press for the city and its police force, and will almost certainly lead to multiple civil suits. Far from driving out the protesters and "teaching them a lesson," the police action only made them more angry and determined than ever, greatly increased public sympathy for them, and multiplied their numbers in subsequent rallies and marches. The police action made violence MORE likely and not less.

Do the canons of St. Paul's and the City corporation really imagine that a legal action followed by a police sweep would end this? I think such an action would only be kicking a hornet's nest.

Posted by: Counterlight on Friday, 28 October 2011 at 4:50pm BST

Mr. Bowles, perhaps they should wait until it gets really cold in London, and then spray the "protestors" with holy water, and let them get really cold and wet.

That ought to clear them out.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Friday, 28 October 2011 at 5:49pm BST

The whole point of an "occupy" movement is to OCCUPY the location in question. If the protesters cannot stay there (and tents are the only viable option for such, right?), then the whole idea becomes a joke.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 28 October 2011 at 10:09pm BST

Or you could go there with a megaphone, PB - that might clear them out as well.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 1:10am BST

I'm very concerned about this dual argument of "people have a right to peaceful protest" but "not in my back yard" when the protesters don't own their own back yard and every bit of public space is owned by those who would rather not see the protesters there.

Where are they supposed to go to exercise their right to peaceful protest?
Isn't it astonishing how those who own the spaces manage, time and time again, to divert from the nature of the protest and rubbish the perception the world has of the protestors?
That alone should worry us more than anything.

In some parts of America and in Melbourne peaceful camps have been broken up with tear gas. Here, the Corporation of London and St Paul's are seeking legal advice to get rid of those who criticise them. Well, they would, wouldn't they!
We should be appalled by the ease with which they can do that rather than support their spurious reasons that don't really amount to much more than "we don't like those messy looking people clogging up our pretty street and drawing attention to what we'd rather they didn't articulate".

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 8:51am BST

In view of the legalistic approach now being taken by the Dean and Chapter against the campers in tent city perhaps the cathedral should be redidicated to St. Paul and Jael - she would slew Sisera with a tent peg. (See Judges 4: 2-22)

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 10:24am BST

It's a curious fact of modern life that the very same people who want to relieve business of the burdens of regulation (and responsibility) are eager to tightly regulate the rights to public assembly, free speech, and petitioning their governments. Soon we will all find ourselves confined to what are called "free speech zones" in the USA, cordoned off places surrounded by cops where we can do or say what ever we wish, but only because it doesn't matter.

Posted by: Counterlight on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 12:43pm BST

Interesting account as ever by Steve Bates of the Eucharist yesterday in St Paul's for Sts Simon and Jude. Did they omit the OT reading for this feast day, I wonder, Is 28.14-16:

Isaiah 28.14-16;

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
it will not come to us;
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter’;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
‘One who trusts will not panic.’

Posted by: Grumpy High Church Woman on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 1:38pm BST
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