Police letter reveals St Paul’s cathedral involvement in Occupy eviction

 

Evidence has emerged of the critical role St Paul’s cathedral played in giving police permission to remove praying Christians from its steps when the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp was forcibly evicted earlier this year.

The incident caused widespread anger among many Christian groups who were already dismayed at the stance London’s most famous cathedral had taken towards the anti-corporate greed protest that sprung overnight on their doorstep late last year.

The cathedral initially insisted that it had not ordered riot police to remove anyone from its steps. But in a letter obtained by The Independent, the head of the City of London police confirmed that permission was given by the Cathedral so that protesters could then be removed for trespassing on private property.

In the letter, which was sent to London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard states: “I can confirm that permission was given by St Paul’s to clear the steps on 28 th Febraury 2012.”

He adds that permission was sought so that the steps outside the cathedral could be cleaned after the camp’s eviction. “To enable the work to be carried out the steps had to be clear of people and any persons remaining on the steps were not there with the permission of St Paul’s and in doing so they became trespassers,” he writes.

His narrative stands in stark contrast to the official line put out by the cathedral in the immediate aftermath of the eviction where officials insisted that “the police did not ask for permission from us regarding any aspect of the action taken” during the clearance.

In a later statement provided by the cathedral officials insisted that permission was given to the City of London Corporation who “asked the police to clear the area temporarily of people so that [cleaning] could be carried out”.

A spokesman for the cathedral last night repeated that stance saying they were approached by the City of London who wanted to clear the surrounding area including the steps. “Permission was given to clear the steps so this work could be carried out,” he said. He added that protestors were allowed back the following day to hold a general assembly on the steps and that cathedral officials have held regular meetings with Occupy leaders since the camp was evicted.

However a number of Christian activists last night accused the cathedral of being evasive in what specific role it played in allowing the police to drag praying Christians from the steps of one of Britain’s most iconic religious buildings.

Sam Walton, one of the Christians who was dragged away that night, said: “St Paul’s Cathedral have acted in a fundamentally dishonest and unchristian manner. They have repeatedly dodged questions about their role in Occupy’s eviction and misled Christians, the public and a member of the London Assembly in saying it was the Corporation of London who had asked for the area to be cleared of protesters. I call on Canon Pastor Michael Colclough to make an immediate statement setting out the facts about the cathedral's role in the eviction.”

Siobhan Grimes, another protester removed while praying, added: “The trustees of St Paul’s Cathedral knew that Occupy stood with the poor as Jesus did, and had repeated made statements supporting the Occupy protest. So why did they support the Corporation of London in evicting Occupy? It seems that St Paul’s is influenced more by City of London than by Jesus’ teachings.”

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering