London Landmark Reopens, City Seeks to Oust Occupiers

Posted October 28th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Protesters inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement cleared a path to London's St. Paul's Cathedral, allowing the landmark to reopen Friday. But officials in the British capital say they still want the demonstrators to clear out completely.

Several hundred protesters started pitching tents and camping out in front of the tourist attraction almost two weeks ago. Last week, the cathedral shut its doors, saying the makeshift campsite was a health and safety hazard.

The closure was the first for St. Paul's since World War Two.

During a special service Friday, the dean of the cathedral told worshippers – including some of the protesters – it was time to rejoice and pray. Still, officials with the City of London Corporation said the protesters had not done enough.

Michael Welbank with the corporation's transportation and planning committee said officials would try to get a court order evicting the protesters from the site.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, in Perth, Australia, told reporters he hoped the situation could be resolved. But he also said it was vitally important for places like St. Paul's Cathedral to remain open to the public.

Mr. Cameron said he supported the right to protest but that he did not think it should include “the freedom to pitch a tent almost anywhere you want.”