St Paul's may have to close to the public as more protestors arrive


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The Independent Online

St Paul's Cathedral could be forced to close its doors to members of the public as more people are joining anti-capitalist protests taking place in its churchyard.

A statement released by the cathedral expressed concern over the size of the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest, which was set up on Saturday to demonstrate against corporate greed.

"The increased scale and nature of the protest camp is such that to act safely and responsibly, the cathedral must now review the extent to which it can remain open for the many thousands coming this week as worshippers, visitors and in school parties," the statement said. "Is it now time for the protest camp to leave? The consequences of a decision to close St Paul's cannot be taken lightly."

But protesters denied yesterday that they had been asked to move on, as some reports had claimed, and insisted that they were in "constant dialogue" with the cathedral.

"It's very clear that we have not been asked to leave," said protester Ronan McNern.

"We have a good relationship with St Paul's and we are working with them very closely to minimise any disruption," he added. Despite having no plans to move to another site, Mr McNern said that some protesters were planning to hold fundraising events for the cathedral to make up for lost revenue.

A few days ago Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, said that, while he had not given his backing to the occupation of St Paul's Churchyard, he supported the democratic right to protest.

Protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York took place all over the world at the weekend and led to violence at a demonstration in Rome.