St Paul's protestors dig in as anti-capitalist protest goes global

Riot police try to break up a protest in Wall Street this weekend.
Protestors have set up camp around S Paulst

By Ian Dunt

Protestors camping outside St Paul's were digging in for the long haul this morning, as the new movement against capitalism went global.

Estimates suggest that the protest has now spread to 950 areas in 80 countries, all inspired by the 'Occupy Wall Street' event in New York.

Early Monday morning, activists in London released a collective call for chage, demanding an end to bank bailouts and public spending cuts.

Occupy London Stock Exchange statement in full.

Comparatively well-humoured scenes between police, protestors and church officials in London were in stark contrast to the ferocious violence in Rome and mass arrests in New York.

Police made 92 arrests in the American financial district over the weekend, while 70 people were injured in Rome after anarchists fought running battles with police.

Things were considerably more pleasant in London, where Rev Dr Giles Fraser, canon chancellor of St Paul's, took the unusual step of demanding police keep their distance from the church and that demonstrators be given a chance to peacefully protest.

Several of the activists attended a service in the church yesterday along with the traditional congregation.

Activists ended up outside St Paul's after an attempt to occupy Paternoster Square was thwarted by police on Saturday night.

Police implemented a containment system for part of the night and made eight arrests, for charges ranging from possession of cannabis to assault on an officer.

Most of the weekend was spent with 'people's assemblies' outside St Paul's. Activists took it in turns to discuss global political and economic issues and the more practical requirements of running the new camp, which is intended to be in place at least until Christmas.

According to the assembly rules only one person talks at a time and the crowd must repeat each word so that those at the back can hear.

Following early meetings, seven portable toilets were installed, activists were told to collect their litter and a media centre was established to beam images and sounds from the camp on the internet.

Around 100 tents now dot the area by the steps of the cathedral.

Protestors hope that a permanent camp in the area will attract increasing numbers of those disillusioned with bailouts for the banks and public spending cuts, as happened in New York.


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