London, 17 October (ENInews)--Scores of anti-corporate demonstrators invaded London's historic St. Paul's Cathedral on 16 October, but police who tried to stop them were told to leave by church officials, Religion News Service reports.
The protesters -- who were targeting the global financial system as part of worldwide demonstrations against corporate greed – were welcomed into the 17th-century cathedral, and Sunday services went on uninterrupted. The protesters were allowed to continue their presence into 17 October, provided they did not interfere with tourists.
The Rev. Giles Fraser, the cathedral's canon chancellor who took steps to ease tensions, told reporters that "I am very much in favor of people's rights to protest peacefully," and said he asked the police to leave the building "because I didn't feel it needed that sort of protection."
The demonstrators, some wearing masks and others waving banners, camped out in tents around St. Paul's and preached their defiance of bankers and financial institutions from the cathedral's steps.
One of the protesters, a former City of London financial analyst who asked not to be identified, said he thought Fraser's actions helped keep things peaceful. "His quick thinking stopped police violence," the protester told ENInews.
The London protest, calling itself the Occupy London Stock Exchange action, was part of a worldwide demonstration of anger against capitalism and greed in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome and Tokyo as well as the wellspring of the movement, Wall Street and other parts of New York City.
A statement issued by Occupy London Stock Exchange (Occupy LSX) quoted Andy Robert, one of the protesters, saying: "We've now been welcomed by St Paul's ... We are here to talk about the role of the financial sector, government and corporate greed have in ruining the lives of ordinary people and how we can bring about change."
Article By: Al Webb - ENInews/RNS
Additional reporting contributed by Trevor Grundy for Ecumenical News International