Police begin City protest eviction


The eviction of anti-capitalist protesters from outside St Paul's Cathedral began today, the City of London Corporation said.

After police and bailiffs arrived at the site, the corporation said it had begun to enforce the High Court orders for the removal of the tents and equipment.

"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," its statement said.

"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 January 18 2012. The High Court found that the City of London Corporation 'behaved both responsibly and fairly throughout'."

Occupy London was refused permission by the Court of Appeal last week to challenge orders evicting protesters from the site which has been home to the camp since October 15 last year.

Granting orders for possession and injunctions against Occupy London at the High Court last month, Mr Justice Lindblom said the proposed action by the City of London Corporation - which it pledged not to enforce pending appeal - was "entirely lawful and justified", as well as necessary and proportionate.

The appeal judges, headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said that the protesters had raised no arguable case.

The corporation called on protesters to remove their tents voluntarily but the BBC estimated between 50 and 60 remained when police arrived.

The broadcaster estimated that around 40 to 50 bailiffs were waiting by the roadside, waiting for the police to give them leave to clear the site.

The atmosphere at the site was said to be calm although some protesters were creating makeshift barriers out of wooden shelving units.