Cathedral could shut doors due to protest

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St Paul’s Cathedral could be forced to close its doors to members of the public because of the anti-capitalist protest taking place in its churchyard.

Activists, who have occupied a makeshift campsite outside the main entrance of the house of worship since last Saturday, have been asked to move on by church authorities.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange protest is causing a “risk to the life of the cathedral”, a spokesman said.

A statement released by the cathedral said: “The increased scale and nature of the protest camp is such that to act safely and responsibly the cathedral must now review the extent to which it can remain open for the many thousands coming this week as worshippers, visitors and in school parties.

“Is it now time for the protest camp to leave? The consequences of a decision to close St Paul’s cannot be taken lightly.”

A few days ago the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s, said that, while he had not given his specific backing to the occupation of the churchyard, he supported the democratic right to protest.

However, as the days draw on and more protesters have arrived at the site, it appears the cathedral’s authorities have had a change of heart.

Protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York took place all over the world last weekend and led to violence in Rome and dozens of arrests in the US.