London protesters spread to second camp

22nd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Anti-capitalist protesters set up a second camp in London on Saturday, as they marked one week of demonstrations outside St Paul's Cathedral which have forced the 300-year-old monument to close.

As hundreds of demonstrators inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement bedded down for an eighth night in the heart of London's financial district, supporters set up another encampment of about 30 tents nearby.

One activist said the Finsbury Square protest was an "overflow camp" to ease concerns about the main protest, which has swelled to 200 tents and prompted the cathedral's closure on Friday for the first time since World War II.

"We want to let St Paul's know that we have an overflow camp so we won't be stressing them out so much," said Ronan McNern, 36.

"It was obvious that the camp at St Paul's was expanding and expanding, and this way we can limit the numbers there and ensure there is a site there which fits within the regulations."

The protesters set up camp outside St Paul's following a day of global marches against corporate greed one week ago. The cathedral is a stone's throw from the London Stock Exchange, the protesters' main target.

Hundreds of tourists have been turned away from the cathedral since its closure, although the wedding of one couple went ahead on Saturday -- albeit with the bride coming in a side door rather than up the grand front steps.

"There hasn't been any disruption at all -- it's been wonderful, really amazing," beamed Natasha Ighodaro as she emerged with her new husband, Nick Cunningham, apparently unfazed by the banner declaring "capitalism is crisis".

Some of the couple's wedding guests expressed support for the activists, as did a number of the tourists, despite being unable to visit the cathedral.

"It is for a noble cause, it isn't agressive, it's a good way of protesting," said Dutch tourist Juul van der Au, 21. She added: "There are many others things to see in London -- we'll go to Westminster Abbey."

The cathedral expects to remain closed on Sunday and is losing approximately £16,000 (18,300 euros, $25,500) in tourist revenues every day, officials said.

© 2011 AFP

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