St Paul's Cathedral Canon 'happy for people to demonstrate peacefully'

An estimated 3,000 people staged peaceful protests outside St Paul's Cathedral in central London this weekend, after police refused to allow them near the London Stock Exchange. Services and tourist visits continued as usual without interruption.

Reverend Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's, said on Sunday he was happy for people to "exercise their right to protest peacefully" outside the cathedral.

Dr Fraser added: "This morning early there was a line of police who were kindly trying to protect the Cathedral but I thought that was unnecessary, so we brought them down and there's been no damage to the Cathedral and it's been a very peaceful protest as far as I've seen."

At least 250 people camped overnight on Saturday and Sunday according to organisers. Police had initially said it would be "illegal and disrespectful" to camp in front of the cathedral, but they later announced they would not be moving anyone on from the site.

Smaller protests  also took place in Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh in the UK. Starting with the four-week long 'Occupy Wall Street' demonstration in New York, around the world more than 1,000 peaceful demonstrations in 80 countries have been held, urging politicians to listen to people and not to bankers.

An Anglican postgraduate theology student from King's College who joined in Sunday's protest in London, told ICN: "I'm going to stay here as long as I can. I feel its my Christian duty. In the past year alone,  Britain has spent £9 billion on the wars in Afghanistan and Libya and on the maintenance of the Trident nuclear missile system. We feel this money could be better used to fund public services, rather than the government's current policy of decimating them."

For a short film on the cost of the war in Afghanistan, see:

Tags: Canon Chancellor of St Paul's, demonstration, London Stock Exchange, occupy, Reverend Giles Fraser, St Paul's Cathedral

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