Occupy London has been evicted from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral this morning after camping there for four months.
The presence of Occupy in the heart of the City split public opinion and led to the resignation of the canon chancellor of St Paul's Giles Fraser as The Church wrestled with the moral implications of forcibly removing peaceful protesters.
Yahoo! News asked a member of Occupy London, a City worker and St Paul’s Cathedral to comment on the eviction, and here’s what they told us:
Ronan McNern, Occupy London protester
“We heard reports about police massing with bailiffs up by the London wall and within 15 minutes police had come in and cordoned off around the camp. People were moved to the steps of St Paul’s and tents started to be thrown into the garbage machines. Tensions did start to run quite high as this was our community being broken, though it did remain largely peaceful.
“People were removed from the steps, which is significant as the court order has nothing to do with the steps, the court order is to do with tents and paraphernalia. We intend to reassemble at St Paul’s because of this and I think it will be interesting to see the reaction we get from this.
“It really felt poignant as it is so symbolic of our home. This is what the City of London has done - they don’t care about the homeless people, and they don’t care about our cause. It [Occupy London] has brought an amazing community together, but at the same time all of us recognise that what we are doing is about something much greater than a little camp. We can’t just focus on that area.”
[Related gallery: Bailiffs evict anti-capitalist protesters]
City Worker, who preferred to remain anonymous
“St Paul's is a beautiful place to work and having the protestors there really spoilt a peaceful and spiritual place. Many people enjoy the spaces around the cathedral and Paternoster Square and have not been able to since the camp set up.
“At first, the protesters were friendly and could be ignored if you weren't interested in what they had to say. But after a few weeks the noise, mess and smell became unbearable. The floors and columns were graffittied and some of the camp residents could be abusive and aggressive. Walking past the camp at night became quite intimidating.
“It's important that people are able to campaign for things they believe in, but I think the protestors at St Paul's have abused the goodwill of the cathedral staff. They've also tried to make people who just go to work to earn a decent living feel guilty for being employed and had a negative impact on some of the local businesses around Paternoster Square (one shop has shut down since the camp arrived). I am not sad to see them go.”
"In the past few months, we have all been made to re-examine important issues about social and economic justice and the role the cathedral can play.
"We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs but we are fully committed to continuing to promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute.
"The cathedral is open today and set aside for prayer and reflection. The cathedral is accessible to everyone. The area currently cordoned off is for essential repairs to damaged paving."