Church authorities of St. Paul's Cathedral, the site of the anti-capitalist "Occupy London" protests that have had dissenters camping outside near the church in tents for days, have agreed to suspend legal action against the campers, various media sources have reported.
The City of London Corporation, which owns part of the land along with the church, was expected to issue an ultimatum today giving the protesters two days to remove their tents or face legal consequences. However, church authorities, whose consent is needed in order to pursue legal action, have stepped in and said they would try to reason with the protesters on their own without the threat of legal troubles looming overhead.
"Members of Chapter this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul's intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church," St. Paul's said in a released statement.
The announcement of the suspended legal action comes just a day after the resignation of church dean the Right Rev. Graeme Knowles and a few days after the resignations of the canon chancellor, Giles Fraser, and the part-time chaplain, Fraser Dyer.
"The past fortnight has been a testing time for the chapter and for me personally," Knowles said in a statement, according to The Guardian. "It has become increasingly clear to me that, as criticism of the cathedral has mounted in the press, media and in public opinion, my position as dean of St. Paul's was becoming untenable. In order to give the opportunity for a fresh approach to the complex and vital questions facing St Paul's, I have thought it best to stand down as dean, to allow new leadership to be exercised."
Following the resignations and suddenly vacant positions, the bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres, was called upon to provide temporary assistance.
"The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul's has now heard that call," he said in a statement about the church's decision to suspend legal proceedings."
He added, "Today's decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the Cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe. I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference."