Dean of St Paul's Cathedral quits over protest camp

LONDON Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:40am EDT

1 of 4. A demonstrator directs questions to the Dean of St Paul's, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, as he meets with demonstrators camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in London October 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - The Dean of London's St Paul's Cathedral resigned on Monday, after the church said it would take legal action to evict a 200-tent anti-capitalist protest camp occupying the square outside.

Reverend Graeme Knowles resigned just days after the cathedral Chancellor, Reverend Giles Fraser, quit in opposition to the legal action he said could result in violence done in the name of the church.

Knowles said mounting criticism of St Paul's handling of the protest camp, which has occupied the square for the past two weeks, had made his position untenable.

"Since the arrival of the protesters' camp outside the cathedral, we have all been put under a great deal of strain and have faced what would appear to be some insurmountable issues," he said in a statement.

The protesters, inspired by similar protests around the world, are demonstrating against the nearby London Stock Exchange for greater wealth equality and financial reform.

Health and safety concerns forced the cathedral to close its doors last week for the first time since World War Two, costing it some 20,000 pounds ($32,000) a day in lost revenue. It reopened on Friday.

Cathedral authorities have stressed that they object to the tents rather than the protesters.

(Reporting By Naomi O'Leary)

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