London protest camp defiant after 'tragic' NYC eviction
Activists at the anti-capitalism protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral in London expressed anger and defiance on Tuesday after police in New York cleared the camp which had inspired them.
In a late-night operation, police flooded into the New York cradle of anti-Wall Street protests, forcing out demonstrators and tearing down tents in a surprise strike at the heart of the two-month-old movement.
In London, where protesters set up camp in mid-October as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread across the world, Inka Stafrace, a filmmaker and activist, said the clearing of the New York camp was "tragic".
"It's desperately sad, desperately tragic. We hope we can help those people." the dual Australian and Maltese national told AFP.
"But I'm not at all surprised. I believe the military industrial complex controls America."
She claimed: "The tear gas and the riot equipment they use has all been developed by testing on civilians."
The camp of 200 tents in London's financial quarter was buzzing with activity on Tuesday. Activists said they planned to go to the US embassy in London to protest later.
Asked if they expect the police to take similar action in London, Stafrace said: "It's possible. But it might not happen here because there is more legality here and the British are different to the Americans. Things are a lot more civilised here."
Anthony Anamasi, a bearded protester originally from New York, said he had been at the London camp since the start.
He vowed that the Occupy movement "will be back" despite the action taken by the New York police.
"It's disgusting (what happened in Wall Street). But this is a long-term movement. This is a movement of right now and we are not going to be stopped," he said.
"We are building a new 'special relationship'. One between the 99 percent here and in New York and around the world, not the one percent.
"What is going on here and in New York is a new way of thinking."
Britain's business minister Vince Cable said Sunday he sympathised with the St Paul's protesters, saying they reflected the feeling that a very small number of people had done "extraordinarily well" in the economic crisis.
The camp has sharply divided the cathedral's authorities.
Planned legal action against the activists was suspended and the head of St Paul's, Dr Giles Fraser, resigned rather than see protesters forcibly evicted.
© 2011 AFP