Occupy protesters in London failed to hit their desired target, the London Stock Exchange, and ended up at the front entrance to St Paul's Cathedral. Their makeshift camp of tents has remained since October 15, when anti capitalist protests around the world erupted.
The authorities have shied away from confrontation after an initial stand off which saw a cathedral representative ask the police to move back. Since then it has been a roller coaster. affair
With three resignations from the Cathedral staff, a period of St Paul's closing its doors to the public due to safety concerns and then starting legal action to evict the protesters, the situation was proving difficult to resolve. Today, November 1, 2011 it seems that the authorities have had enough.
Home Secretary Theresa May has called time on the protesters and they have 48 hours before they are evicted. One has to wonder if the police will follow America's lead and move in during the dead of night.
On Sky news this morning presenter Eamon Holmes told one protester that they had no support and in general the public wanted them moved on by any means possible. However, it is easy to dismiss this group in such a way but not accurate. Although they have been labelled anti capitalist they are more questioning the current state of corporate greed. More ordinary people will symathise with their beliefs than the Occupy movement has been given credit for.
One of the main problems is the involvement of St Paul's. The government has latched onto this knowing that most people will agree with them on St Paul's, at least. As protesters have said they will stay till Christmas, if need be, the public are adamant that Remembrance day services and Christmas celebrations in St Paul's will not be affected.
The UK government may say that the people have a right to protest but they are looking at changing the law on squatting and classing such camps as squats. The Home Secretary wants control of protests and time limits.
London Tory MP Mark Field said, “The whole thing is farcical. You couldn’t make it up. It’s gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. This tented community has been there for two weeks and has hardly brought the foundations of capitalism to its knees. Ironically, the only capitalist organisation that has lost out is St Paul’s. I suspect that these resignations will only ensure that these protesters become more entrenched.”
Well in spite of limited publicity initially the protest has got people talking and thinking about the state of UK finances. It has highlighted much of what is wrong with the UK currently, that is a small minority controlling the wealth and opportunities of the majority.
The eviction looks set to be a nasty event.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog