Occupy London protesters evicted from St Paul's site
Demonstrators who have been camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London since October last year were finally evicted on last night as riot police and bailiffs moved in after dark, dragging both tents and protesters away.
Some of those who decided to stay at the campsite in defiance of a High Court order built barricades, while others sat on the steps of Sir Christopher Wren's cathedral as the paraphernalia of their occupation, which has gone on for nearly four-and-a-half months, was cleared into rubbish trucks.
There were minor scuffles as police and bailiffs removed the last remaining protesters from the hastily erected wooden barricades and took another down from a tree. The eviction began just after midnight as police presence around the site grew. Within hours, the area of St Paul's churchyard which had become a symbol of the global Occupy movement in Britain was cleared.
But demonstrators were talking last night about targeting a business in London's West End with a meeting set for early Tuesday morning to finalise a target. Sources said they planned to meet at Piccadilly Circus before moving on the unnamed target.
The mood was calm during last night's eviction, which many of the protesters who have lived at the camp missed having voluntarily moved on after they were denied permission to appeal a High Court order allowing their eviction. Most said before bailiffs arrived that they would not put up a fight but it was understood that an element would resist.
Some claimed they had attached themselves to the barricades using D-locks, while others appeared to co-operate with the police and bailiffs, who numbered more than one hundred and around 40, respectively. Protesters who stayed were warned they risked being in contempt of court and at least five were taken away by police officers, following their removal from the barricades. It is unclear how many were subsequently arrested.
City of London Police said 20 people were arrested in the "largely peaceful" operation.
The City of London Corporation confirmed that the removal of tents and equipment outside St Paul's had been completed.
Officers were also heard to mention that bystanders and members of the press also risked being in contempt of court by being on the land covered by the High Court injunction.
In a statement issued as the eviction got underway, City of London Police said: “The City's iconic backdrop and position at the centre of the world's financial markets means it has long been a location for protest, and the long-running protest camp in St Paul's Churchyard is a prime example of that.
“City of London Corporation bailiffs have begun enforcing a High Court order for the removal of tents and equipment outside St Paul's Cathedral.
“City of London Police officers, supported by Met Police, are ensuring public safety and maintaining order. Officers continue to speak with the local community.
”We'll continue to work hard to keep the City safe for everyone who lives, works and visits here.“
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, which sought and enforced the camp's eviction, said: “The City of London Corporation has begun to enforce the High Court orders for the removal of the tents and equipment outside St Paul's. 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.
“High Court enforcement officers employed by the City of London Corporation are undertaking the removal with the Police present to ensure public safety and maintain order. We would ask protesters to move on peaceably.
“The City of London Corporation is ensuring vulnerable people are being helped and supported to find appropriate accommodation in partnership with Broadway, a charity for the homeless.
“The High Court found in favour of the City of London Corporation in the case against the camp at St Paul's on 18 January 2012. The High Court found that the City of London Corporation 'behaved both responsibly and fairly throughout.'”
Click HERE for a timeline of key Occupy London events
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...
£14560 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Even though their premises have...
£44000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Marketing company based in cent...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Installation / Commission...