‘Occupy London’ protesters allowed to stay until 2012: lawyer
LONDON — Anti-capitalist protesters camped outside London’s St Paul’s Cathedral will be allowed to remain until at least the New Year, a lawyer for the group said after a meeting city authorities Wednesday.
Lawyer John Cooper, who has advised the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) group since the first day of their protest, revealed on micro-blogging website Twitter that city authorities had offered his clients a “deal to stay until New Year.”
The lawyer said he would be advising OLSX while they considered the offer.
Greg Williams, head of media for local authority The City of London Corporation, would not confirm or deny the 2012 deadline when contacted by AFP.
Protesters, who were inspired by a similar occupation of New York’s Wall Street, later confirmed the offer and said they hoped the deadline could be extended further.
Relaying information from the group’s general assembly, demonstrator Steve Rushton told AFP that Cooper had “asserted that we have been given leave to stay until December 31.”
“That should give us a good chance to continue the dialogue and hopefully it will be ongoing after that,” he added. “It will be great that we can stay until at least then and then look forward to continuing it.”
The City of London Corporation tweeted that it had met representatives of the camp for a “constructive meeting”, in which they outlined their responsibilities regarding public highways and planning.
“Our aim is agreement (without prejudice) regarding reducing camp size and limiting duration,” it added.
Protest planner Tina Rothery said the group was debating a request from the authority to remove some tents in order to make space for the fire service.
“There’s a hindrance of access for St Paul’s churchyard,” she said. “We’re not blocking it but they would like more space.”
St Paul’s Cathedral and the city authorities on Tuesday suspended planned legal action against the protesters, who set up camp on October 15.
The management of St Paul’s said it had unanimously agreed to suspend action against the demonstrators, who have turned the churchyard into a sprawling campsite and triggered turmoil in the cathedral hierarchy.
The head of St Paul’s quit on Monday after facing criticism for attempts to move on the protesters.