Monday, October 31, 2011

'Occupy' Protest at St. Paul's Cathedral in London Splits Anglican Church

At New York Times:

LONDON — In a city where demonstrations of every kind are part of the daily syncopation, there has rarely been any with quite the same potential for amplifying the protesters’ cause as the one that has settled in recently on the historic forecourt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, setting off a painful crisis of conscience for the Church of England .

For the last 15 days, St. Paul’s has been the backdrop for London’s counterpart to the Occupy Wall Street tent city in Zuccotti Square in New York. Here, the protest has taken on aspects of a medieval carnival, a jumbled tent city with buskers and rappers and clothing stalls and a panoply of banners and a makeshift cafeteria. There have been pet dogs, and a man dressed as Jesus declaiming against the usurers in the temple.

Where Princess Diana appeared to pealing bells after her marriage to Prince Charles, where a nation grateful for deliverance in war watched the caissons arrive for the funerals of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill, beneath Christopher Wren’s great dome that stood defiant amid the smoke and fire of the Luftwaffe’s blitz, Britain’s anticapitalist battalions have pitched camp.

Scores of similar encampments have sprung up in cities around the world, echoing the continuing protest in Wall Street’s heart against the bankers and corporate barons and complicit politicians the protesters hold responsible for global financial distress.

But few, if any, of the protests outside New York have had the resonance the St. Paul’s campers have achieved in Britain by choosing as their venue what many regard as the country’s most iconic religious landmark.
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