19/12/2011 01:03 GMT | Updated 17/02/2012 05:12 GMT

Occupy London: High Court Bid To Evict Protesters From St. Paul's Cathedral Begins

A legal bid to remove the anti-capitalist protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral is beginning at the High Court.

The contested possession proceedings brought by the City of London Corporation are due to last four days before Mr Justice Lindblom.

Counsel David Forsdick has said that the action has been brought to "protect the rights and freedoms of others".

"The City is not bringing these claims to protect the banks, nor is it bringing them to prevent peaceable protest against the financial sector. Nor is it bringing these claims to stifle freedom of speech.

"It is bringing these claims solely to remove the semi-permanent protest camp because, after very careful consideration, it has concluded it is necessary to do so.

"It is a pressing social need in order to protect the rights and freedoms of others."

Proceedings were launched after protesters, who began the camp on October 16, ignored a November 17 deadline to clear the "public highway" and tore down eviction notices from their tents - some of which are pitched on the footpath next to shops surrounding the cathedral, with the rest in the churchyard.

The corporation, the local authority which runs the Square Mile, has expressed concern over "worrying trends" at the camp, including late-night drinking, and the fact that companies near the cathedral have complained about losing business.