London Police Dismantle ‘Occupy’ Protest From Cathedral Courtyard

Posted February 28th, 2012 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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British authorities have evicted dozens of “Occupy London” protesters from the courtyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the anti-capitalist activists had held continuous demonstrations since October.

City officials accompanied by riot police dismantled about 50 tents at the makeshift campsite outside the world-famous cathedral early Tuesday.

Police said they arrested about 20 protesters, some of whom tried to form a barricade and set off smoke bombs to prevent officials from clearing the area.

But there were no reports of violence, unlike in several U.S. cities where demonstrators and police have clashed in recent months during the clearing of some of the Occupy Wall Street sites.

The 300-year-old cathedral was the site of one of the longest-running demonstrations inspired by the movement, which started in New York last year as a way to protest what activists say is economic inequality and corporate greed.

Some of the demonstrators Tuesday vowed to continue their protests, despite having had their makeshift homes brought down.

“We’re seeing the state response to something which has been beautiful and historical, and we’re being evicted and it’s not the end. Not by a long shot.”

The eviction had been anticipated since a court ruled last week that the protesters did not have the right to stage a permanent campsite in the public area, which is in the heart of London’s financial district. One-hundred tents had already been removed from the facility following the ruling.

The protest had proven controversial for the leadership of St. Paul’s Cathedral, with two senior Anglican clerics resigning over the church’s initial attempts to have the protesters removed.