London's iconic landmark St Paul's Cathedral forced to close

London's iconic landmark St Paul's Cathedral forced to closePA

Anti-capitalist campaigners camping on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral have forced the closure of the iconic landmark and tourist attraction - for the first time in 72 years.

Dean Rev Graeme Knowles said the 'unprecedented' decision was made with 'heavy hearts' following concerns over public health and safety.

In a statement he said: 'I have written an open letter to the protesters this afternoon advising them that we have no lawful alternative but to close St Paul's Cathedral until further notice.

'Health, safety and fire officers have pointed out that access to the cathedral is seriously limited.
'With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a very clear fire hazard.

'Then there is the public health aspect which indeed speaks for itself. The dangers relate not just to cathedral staff and to visitors but are a potential hazard to those encamped themselves.

'We have done this with a very heavy heart, but it is simply not possible to fulfil our day-to-day obligations to worshippers, visitors and pilgrims in current circumstances.

'I am asking the protesters to recognise the huge issues facing us at this time and asking them to leave the vicinity of the building so that the cathedral can reopen as soon as possible.'

The Occupy London Stock Exchange movement has been located in Paternoster Square since last Saturday after being barred from the Stock Exchange.

And, while St Paul's says it supports the right to protest, they would like the building to be used for its intended purpose of worshipping.

The cathedral is one of London's most famous and best-loved tourist attractions, drawing up to 3,000 visits and worshippers every Sunday.

Read more at the Daily Mail.

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