London protesters defy deadline at St Paul's
Anti-capitalist protesters who have camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London for more than one month refused to leave Thursday despite the expiry of a deadline issued by city authorities.
The City of London Corporation had a day earlier served the demonstrators with eviction notices giving them until 1800 GMT to pack up their tents and vacate a public road outside the church.
The corporation, the local authority for London's financial district, will now go to court to start legal action for their removal, said John Cooper, the barrister for the Occupy London Stock Exchange movement.
"The city will be going to court tomorrow to start the process, with a High Court hearing on Wednesday. I think we'll have a clearer idea what will happen on Wednesday," he said in a statement delivered by the cathedral steps.
"You followed the legal advice you have been given and you have been respected for it."
Another lawyer for the protesters, Karen Todner, said she did not expect British police to emulate those in the United States, who demolished a packed protest camp near Wall Street in New York on Tuesday.
"The only way the police could remove you is if there was a public order incident, as far as I know there hasn't been any," Todner told the crowd.
Four policemen were posted on Thursday at the site, where dozens of tents have been pitched since October 15.
Protesters erected a banner saying "You can't evict an idea."
In New York on Thursday, some 1,000 protesters converged outside the New York Stock Exchange amid a tense face-off with police, in a show of force by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which inspired the London protests.
© 2011 AFP