Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

St Paul's Canon Blasts Church; ?Top Cleric Quits over 'Violent' Treatment of Tent Protesters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

St Paul's Canon Blasts Church; ?Top Cleric Quits over 'Violent' Treatment of Tent Protesters

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Harper and Peter Dominiczak

A SENIOR Church of England cleric resigned today in the latest extraordinary twist in the siege of St Paul's Cathedral.

Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser quit in protest at the cathedral's plan to clear the anti-capitalist protesters encamped in a tent city on its doorstep for the last 12 days.

Announcing his departure after it had backed moves to evict them, Dr Fraser wrote: "I resigned because I believe that the Chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be ?violence in the name of the Church." On a day of high drama: Boris Johnson called for new laws to prevent tent cities "erupting like boils" across London in the wake of the St Paul's protest, telling the activists: "In the name of God and Mammon, go." The Bishop of London said he will meet the protesters on Sunday to invite them to a debate inside the cathedral if they agree to leave the camp.

Lawyers representing the Occupy London movement vowed that they will fight every attempt to eject them from their churchyard base.

Speaking exclusively to the Standard, Dr Fraser, 47, said he was forced to quit when the cathedral backed moves to clear the demonstrators.

"The Church should not put its name to any course of action that may lead to violence against the protesters.

I can't in conscience go down the road on which they are embarked."

At least 200 protesters are in tents outside the 300-year-old cathedral which was forced to close last Friday for the first time since the 1940 Blitz.

In his first interview since leaving office, Dr Fraser said: "I care deeply for my colleagues at St Paul's and our discussions in the last few days have been incredibly thoughtful."

Police, senior City of London Corporation officials and leading clerics from St Paul's have been locked in talks for days in a bid to find a way to end the encampment that has "squeezed the life" out of the city.

It is understood the cathedral will join the corporation in seeking a High Court injunction allowing police officers to remove the protesters.

In an appeal to the activists today, the Mayor said: "In the name of God and Mammon, go. …

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