The “Occupy London'' movement, an offshoot of the worldwide anti-capitalist campaign, on Tuesday lost its four-month battle with local authorities as bailiffs and police moved in to evict its activists from the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral where they had set up a mini tented township sparking a polarising debate on the rights and wrongs of their protest.
Protesters did not resist but insisted that it was not the end as some moved to other sites vowing to continue the “struggle''.
The eviction, which began after midnight and was largely peaceful, followed a High Court ruling upholding the City of London Corporation's decision to dismantle the camp. It ruled that the Corporation's move was “lawful and justified''. The campaigners were refused permission to appeal against the verdict.
“We regret that it has come to this but the High Court Judgment speaks for itself and the Court of Appeal has confirmed that judgment,'' said the Corporation.
A spokesman of St Paul's which had been divided on its approach to the “occupiers'' also “regretted'' the eviction and said it was “fully committed'' to promote the issues about “social and economic justice'' raised by the campaign. “In the past few months, we have all been made to re-examine important issues about social and economic justice and the role the cathedral can play. We are fully committed to continuing to promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute,” he said.
Giles Fraser, who resigned as canon chancellor of St Paul's in support of the protesters, described it as “a sad day for the Church''.
“Riot police clearing the steps of St Paul's Cathedral was a terrible sight,” he said.
But typically the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson welcomed the eviction calling the occupation as bad for businesses.
“I'm glad that finally the law has taken its course. My interest is in the economic interest of the city and I want to make sure the businesses in that area can flourish.”
Protesters said they were sad to leave the place that had been their home for four months.
“My personal concern is that we don't allow the drama of this event to eclipse the huge and important issues that we in this country and billions across the world are increasingly facing,'' said George Barda, a prominent activist.
Keywords: Occupy London movement