* High Court rules protesters can be evicted
* Occupy London lawyer says will appeal
* Protest has highlighted economic injustice
By Avril Ormsby
LONDON, Jan 18 A British court ruled on
Wednesday that a protest camp denouncing economic inequality
should be removed from its site outside London's landmark St
Dozens of activists from Occupy London, part of an
international movement inspired by the Occupy Wall Street
protest that began last September, have been camping outside St
Paul's since October.
They are engaged in a legal battle with the City of London
Corporation, which has policing powers in the area and wants to
evict the campers.
At a packed High Court hearing, judge Keith Lindblom said
the camp should be removed on grounds of safety and hygiene and
to allow better access to the cathedral for worshippers.
"(The corporation) gave the defendants ample opportunity to
remove the protest camp without the need for time and money to
be spent in legal proceedings," said the judge.
Dozens of Occupy London members stood in the courtroom, some
wearing hats adorned with symbols of peace and nuclear
disarmament, and one shouted "Shame!" as the judge finished
reading out his ruling.
John Cooper, a lawyer representing Occupy London, said the
campers would appeal against the decision. A lawyer for the
corporation said it would allow the protesters seven days to
lodge an appeal.
Protester Rosa O'Connor, a 27-year-old student, said she was
concerned the authorities would try and use force to remove the
"I think the protest movement is immovable," she told
Reuters after the hearing.
"It has affected so many people ... over issues that were
previously overlooked or pushed to one side, taboo or even
boring. It has made economics trendy."
The protesters had originally targeted the nearby London
Stock Exchange, but were blocked from the surrounding square and
instead set up camp outside St Paul's in a blaze of publicity.
The vast domed baroque cathedral is one of central London's main
landmarks. Prince Charles married Princess Diana there in 1981.
Helped by the backdrop of a top tourist attraction,
protesters succeeded in drawing international attention to
grievances such as bankers' bonuses, the gap between rich and
poor and the perceived greed of a privileged minority.
The impact of the protest was amplified by the response from
the Church of England, which was divided over how to handle the
situation. Two senior clerics resigned from posts at the
cathedral over the issue, drawing further media attention.
However, the leaderless movement has not articulated a clear
set of concrete demands and its aims remain nebulous in the eyes
of many of the financial services workers who walk past the camp
In the United States, police have cleared the flagship
Occupy encampments in New York, Los Angeles, Oakland and other
major cities although a handful of camps remain in place around
The movement has influenced the U.S. political debate,
although there too it has been criticised for failing to achieve
much beyond highlighting the injustices of the global economy.
(Writing by Estelle Shirbon)