Occupy London: Tents Coming Down As Some Leave Before Eviction
Some Occupy London protesters at St Paul's Cathedral have already removed their tents and left the site ahead of an eviction that could be just hours away.
The group lost its battle against eviction at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
Spyro Van Leemnen, Occupy's spokesperson, told the Huffington Post UK that some of the protesters left yesterday after a meeting held on the steps of the cathedral.
Some of those who left have gone home, while a few have transferred to Occupy London's Finsbury Square camp.
The site at Finsbury Square is on land not owned by the City of London Corporation and is not currently targeted for eviction.
All 'permanent' or communal tent structures at the St Paul's site, including the information tent and the Tent City University, are being removed, the Huffington Post UK was told. All electronic equipment and other valuable materials have also been taken away, the group said.
Other demonstrators have decided to stay at the site until the very end, with an eviction expected within days.
A special Twitter account has been set up to announce details of the eviction as soon as it happens.
"It comes down to every individual to comply with the City of London Corporation asking us to leave, and some of the people decided to resist peacefully," Spyro said.
"The group didn't reach consensus."
Legal advice has been drawn up for those remaining on site, making them clear of the potential consequences of resisting the eviction. The advice has also been printed and distributed on-site.
The advice reads: "You may see other people being treated roughly and this may make you want to react boldly in response. Think very carefully about this, bearing in mind that Occupy LSX is committed to peaceful eviction, the image that we want to portray of Occupy to the rest of society and how a knee-jerk reaction might impact on your own life in the future."
On the timing of the eviction the City of London Corporation is said to be hesitant about giving specific details, so as to avoid clogging the site with extra protesters when the bailiffs move in. Occupy said it had not details about the timing.
However others told the Huffington Post UK that eviction is expected to occur at night, and could come as soon as Thursday or Friday.
Occupy said that the eviction did not represent a failure for the movement, which has camped at St Paul's since 15 October last year.
"It was expected, we're not surprised that we've been evicted, the challenge is how we take it forward," said Spyro. "There is no intention for the people who have been involved to just give up and go home."
Occupy also refused to rule out establishing more camps in future, perhaps when a globally coordinated push by the movement takes place in the spring.
"We can't rule out any possibility," Spyro said.
On Wednesday judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, dismissed applications for permission to appeal against Justice Lindblom's eviction ruling in the High Court last month.
Justice Lindblom had said the proposed action by the City of London Corporation was "entirely lawful and justified", as well as necessary and proportionate.
The Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral said in a statement yesterday: "We very much hope that today's decision by the Court of Appeal will now lead to a peaceful dispersal of the camp outside St Paul's.
"For the past five months we have sought to focus on the important ethical issues raised by the Occupy movement, and we remain committed to engage with these issues."