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Occupiers Close St. Paul’s

It hadn’t happened since WWII, when an unexploded bomb was found in the garden, but the Occupiers achieved it yesterday–they forced the closure of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London:

It seemed a gesture of Christian tolerance when a clergyman at St Paul’s Cathedral told police to allow anti-capitalist protesters camped outside to continue their demonstration. But the alliance appeared to be faltering yesterday as St Paul’s closed for the first time since the Blitz, claiming it had no choice because of the dangers posed by the growing numbers on its doorstep. …

Although [the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles] supported the protesters’ right to be heard, he said, he now asked that they leave. … He said that as the camp had grown it posed a risk of fire and harm to thousands of tourists and worshippers who visit Sir Christopher Wren’s 17th century masterpiece every day.

Tourists and worshippers were frightened away by the hundreds of ragged, dirty protesters who, once invited, refused to leave, and continue to refuse as of today. So the cathedral, having tried to do the charitable thing, learned a hard but obvious lesson:

A spokesman for the Corporation of London, the local authority, added: “The City is open to everybody. It is open to protests but it is not a campsite.”

In other words, the freedom to assemble peacefully does not imply a freedom to camp out indefinitely in public places. The Telegraph is conducting a poll on the cathedral’s position. There are four options:

Currently, fewer than 10% of respondents are supporting the occupiers. 91 percent say either that the protesters should go somewhere else (48%) or there should be no such protests at all (42%). No word yet on whether the Labour Party is pinning its electoral hopes on popular support for the anti-free enterprise occupiers.

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