Protesters defy St Paul’s tourism pleas

PROTESTERS outside St Paul’s yesterday dismissed fears their camp could force the closure of the Cathedral.

Activists appeared indifferent after the clergy pleaded with them to consider the “risk to the life of the cathedral” created by the fall in visitor numbers since the protest began

One activist named Lucy, 32, who described herself as a spokesman for OccupyLSX, told City A.M. the group was “doing its best” not to disrupt the Cathedral but said the demonstration would run indefinitely.

“At the moment we don’t have an end date (but) we encourage people to come to the Cathedral.”

Kim Heaton-Heather, 29, claimed most of the cathedral’s visitor income was generated during weekends. A police “containment” order was in force for two hours on Saturday when up to 3,000 people turned up, forcing the cancellation of evensong.

The restaurant and gift shop have also since closed and the cathedral has warned it could be forced to shut, something that has not happened in living memory. Last year the Christopher Wren-designed building generated £8.25m from commercial activity.

Yesterday activists continued working on plans to give the camp semi-permanent status and claimed supporters had given them computers and marquees. One man worked on a laptop inscribed with a single four-letter word but the group faced problems when its generator failed.

Protesters also debated whether to ask police to stay away from their “general assemblies”, while officers looked on.

Bob Blackman, the Tory MP for Harrow East, reportedly wants protesters to be stripped of their benefits.