Occupy London: Second Camp Set Up In Islington
Anti-capitalist protesters who forced St Paul's Cathedral to close its doors have set up a second camp on a nearby square as the demonstration escalated.
Some 30 tents popped up on Finsbury Square in Islington, less than a mile from the London landmark, with an estimated 300 people moving on to the new site.
However, organisers insisted those based at St Paul's would hold their ground and would not be moving to the new site despite repeated requests to leave. There was a low police presence on Finsbury Square which is home to financial news organisation Bloomberg.
Supporter Ronan McNern, 36, said the site was established in order to minimise the impact on St Paul's Cathedral, which is now turning away members of the public amid fears the encampment on its doorstep is a health and safety risk.
The new location was chosen for its proximity to banking and financial institutions. "We want to let St Paul's know that we have an overflow camp so we won't be stressing them out so much," he said.
"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."
Hundreds of visitors have been turned away from the cathedral since it closed yesterday for the first time since the Second World War.While a scheduled wedding inside the building went ahead, the bride, groom and guests were forced to enter via a side entrance.
The decision to shut is costing around £16,000 a day in valuable funding and staff expect an even bigger sum to be lost when the cathedral would usually raise vital revenue from Sunday collections from worshippers.
There is still no indication as to when it might reopen to the public. But the Occupy London Stock Exchange group - the body behind the demonstration - has insisted it will not move the sea of makeshift tents erected close to the cathedral's historic front steps.
"This is an important cause and there is a determination from Occupy London to raise popular awareness," Mr McNern, from south London, added. "The only way that people pay attention is through people taking action."