St Paul’s protesters urged to respect Remembrance event

A Second World War veteran remonstrated with the anti-capitalist protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday, fearing that the demonstration would impede his regiment's efforts to mark Remembrance Sunday.

Wally Harris, a 91-year-old former Rolls-Royce mechanic from Bracknell, Berkshire, is concerned his City of London regiment will not be able to parade around the churchyard on November 13.

The veteran fought on Gold Beach in Normandy on D-Day and was part of the force that liberated Brussels. His efforts were honoured with the Military Medal for gallantry.

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In London to help publicise the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families’ Association, Mr Harris addressed his worries directly to the protesters.

He said: “I thought as I was in London and it's close to my heart, I wanted to talk to them to see what their intention is to use the space on Remembrance Sunday.Haven't they got any respect for what happened all those years ago? A million people lost their lives. Can't they move their tents to allow us to parade? I've been speaking to them. They're sympathetic and they're doing their level best to help us out."

He said he was hopeful that the protesters would allow the ceremony to go ahead.

He added: “I have respect for what they are trying to do but I want them to respect what we are trying to do. We've still got to fly the flag, haven't we?”

Ronan McNern, a spokesman for Occupy London Stock Exchange, said the demonstrators are “liaising with the Church” to prevent disruption on Remembrance Sunday.

He said: “The last thing we’d want to do is be disrespectful to the people attending.”

He said the protesters were also talking to the Cathedral to minimise disruption to the Lord Mayor’s Show on November 12.