FIVE people who said that they were evicted from the steps of St Paul’s while praying (News, 2 March) have had a request for a meeting with cathedral representatives declined, writes Ed Thornton.
The five — Jonathan Bartley, George Barda, Siobhan Grimes, Symon Hill, and Sam Walton — wrote to the Canon Pastor, the Rt Revd Michael Colclough. The letter was countersigned by ten Anglican priests, one ordinand, and nine ministers from other denominations.
The letter states: “We were profoundly shocked to be forcibly removed from the steps of a church while we prayed. . . Please can you tell us what permission was given, either explicitly or implicitly?”
Canon Colclough’s response, dated 15 March, says that the cathedral, approached by the City of London Corporation, “gave consent to clean the area around the cathedral, including the steps, after any removal of the protest camp. In order to do this, the Corporation asked the police to clear the area temporarily of people so that this could be carried out.”
The letter went on to say that cathedral representatives planned to hold meetings with Occupy London’s church liaison group “so that St Paul’s can assist Occupy in promoting their call for social and economic justice. We must therefore decline your invitation to meet as we believe that looking backwards to the events of 28 February [the date of the eviction] would not help to further Occupy’s aims.”