Occupy London Backlash: Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral Quits

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  • St Paul's Cathedral
    (Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor)
    St Paul's Cathedral in London.
November 1, 2011|10:47 pm

The Dean of St. Paul’s cathedral said yesterday amid tremendous scrutiny for the way the Cathedral is handling the Occupy London protests that his position has become unsustainable.

The historic St. Paul’s Cathedral has faced heavy blows over the last few weeks when Occupy London protesters made the landmark's doorstep the base of their crusade. Graeme Knowles, the Dean of St. Paul’s cathedral, said in a statement, “Since the arrival of the protesters’ camp outside the cathedral, we have all been put under a great deal of strain and have face what would appear to be some insurmountable issues.”

“I hope and pray that under new leadership these issues might continue to be addressed and that there might be a swift and peaceful resolution,” Knowles added.

Knowles’ resignation comes only days after another cleric at the cathedral, Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser, decided to step down amid worry of the plans to evict protesters.

Fraser alluded that his resignation came as a result of Cathedral plans pursue legal measures to evict protesters when he told the London Evening Standard that he believed the cathedral was set on a course of action that “may lead to violence."

Fraser was supportive of the movement and many protesters expressed their gratitude for the bold move on behalf of the cleric.

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Cathedral officials announced Friday that they plan on taking legal measures to evict the group of Occupy London protesters that have camped out since Oct. 15 outside the historic landmark.

The protest movement led to the cathedral closing its doors for a week.

The closing of the cathedral happened for the first time since WWII and occurred due to fears of the potential hazard that the hundreds of protesters camped outside cathedral grounds could represent to visitors and worshipers.

Cathedral officials said on Friday that legal action to evict protesters has unfortunately become a necessity for the proper functioning of the cathedral.

Occupy London protesters originally attempted to occupy the London Stock Exchange but failed to occupy that area of the city and moved over to the monumental cathedral.

The Occupy London group told The Associated Press that, “Our cause has never been directed at the staff of the Cathedral.”

The group added that "open and transparent" dialog between the movement and clergy and city officials would be necessary to deal with the issue.

 

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