London Anglican cleric quits over “occupy” protest at St Paul’s cathedral
The Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London has resigned after a row among church and local authorities over whether to try to evict a 200-tent protest camp occupying the square outside. Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser had made clear his sympathy with the aims of the anti-capitalist protest camp and asked police to leave the Anglican cathedral’s steps early in the occupation. He said on Thursday he had gone with “great sadness.”
Religious commentators said his move reflected differences in official attitudes towards the camp, which forced the cathedral to close its doors for the first time since World War Two. St Paul’s had said it was been losing 20,000 pounds a day since the camp was set up 12 days ago to protest against the nearby London Stock Exchange. It was closed on health and safety grounds but is due to reopen on Friday.
On Wednesday, the Dean Graeme Knowles reiterated “our basic belief in the right to protest as well as requesting that those people living in the tents now leave the site peacefully.” A statement on the cathedral’s website said it was continuing to take legal advice on a range of options including court action.
The Corporation of London, the local authority in the City financial district, is to hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss whether to take legal action to clear roads around the camp.
A senior cleric in the City said: “The whole idea is a cathedral should be collegiate in its approach to things. Now one guesses from this that the cathedral have decided to take the approach of supporting the City in removing the camp, and that is why he (Fraser) has resigned.”