Police evict cathedral protesters

Tents and other structures are removed from the square in front of St Paul's Cathedral

Anti-capitalist protesters have been camped in front of St Paul's Cathedral for months

The removal of an anti-capitalist camp outside St Paul's Cathedral is under way

First published in National News © by

Anti-capitalist protesters have been evicted from outside St Paul's Cathedral, more than four months since their occupation began.

City of London Police said 20 people had so far been arrested in the "largely peaceful" operation.

Bailiffs and police arrived at the site in the early hours after Occupy London was refused permission by the Court of Appeal to challenge orders evicting protesters.

Confirming the eviction had begun, City of London Corporation said in a statement: "We regret that it has come to this but the High Court judgment speaks for itself and the Court of Appeal has confirmed that judgment."

Granting orders for possession and injunctions against Occupy London at the High Court last month, Mr Justice Lindblom said the proposed action by the City of London Corporation - which it pledged not to enforce pending appeal - was "entirely lawful and justified", as well as necessary and proportionate.

The corporation called on campers to remove their tents voluntarily. Although some remained on site when police arrived, many began dismantling the equipment before bailiffs moved in.

Gary Sherborne, 50, said: "We haven't got any choice and I'd rather protect the tent for another day without it being destroyed by the bailiffs."

Meanwhile, a group of protesters remained defiant, waving flags and banging tambourines on top of a makeshift wooden structure facing the cathedral. However, this platform was eventually dismantled by bailiffs after police in riot gear surrounded it. Campaigners were also cleared from the steps of the cathedral.

An Occupy London spokesman said its School of Ideas in a disused school building in Islington, north London, had also been evicted.

Supporter Kai Wargalla, a 27-year-old student from Germany who has been camping at St Paul's since the occupation began on October 15, said: "It's really sad what's happening today but I think we can be proud of what we've achieved. Our community is being attacked here, but we're going to reconvene and come back stronger."

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