Stand-off at #occupylsx in London

PaternosterIt's 1pm and I'm on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral one hour after the start of the Occupy LSX action in London's financial district. A crowd of about 500 protestors have spent the last hour trying to gain entrance to Paternoster Square to set up camp. But a heavy police presence, including mounted officers, has so far held the line against repeated attempts by fast moving groups to break through.
Aside from a few minor scuffles there has been no violence. The protestors appear to be a broad mix, and there is a very heavy media presence. After one hour of attempting to move into the square, the protest is now reassembling in front of the cathedral. An Attempt to move east towards Blackfriars has just been blocked off by police.

Events began to unfold at 11.55am when two security guards wearing Paternoster Square fluorescent jackets approached groups standing in the Square with a thin slip of paper. On it was written: 'The Square is closed to the public. There is a court injunction in place. Anyone remaining in the square will be in contempt of court."

kidsThese groups of people were almost exclusively press photographers, and the security men were asked why they were being asked to move when the public were still being allowed through. The men appeared confused and continued to brandish their slip of paper. One told me the injunction was taken out by "Mitsibushi, who own the square."

I asked them to clarify wo the injunction was aimed at. They said: "Everyone" but seemed unable to explain why only the press were being moved on. I then asked a City of London policeman for details of what exactly the legal situation was. After at first ignoring me he returned to say: "All questions are going through the Metropolitan police press office."

I asked if I could stay and report events, and he repeated the answer and did not respond to my request for clarification. By now numbers in front of the cathedral were growing, with music heard and the atmosphere still good-natured. Paternoster Square, however, was slowly being cleared and two officers on horseback were stationed at the main entrance

copsAt 12.20, a roar went up and the crowd moved purposefully towards the Square. Police rushed to hold the line and a stand-off ensued. Protestors shouted: "We are the 99%" and "Who protects he bankers? We protect the bankers!" After 20 minutes or so protestors began to move off, testing the defences at other entrance points to the square.

As I write police are attempting to clear the steps. There's still no sign of any violence but tempers are fraying. A speaker with a microphone is urging people to stick together. Word is that a People's assembly will start at 1.30pm. I'm having to move on, more as and when I can file.

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Stand-off at #occupylsx in London
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