Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The dean of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral said he’s optimistic that the church can reopen to the public in two days, after being closed since Oct. 21 by a camp set up by protesters against the financial industry.
Demonstrators inspired by anti-Wall Street demonstrations in New York and other major cities began gathering outside the cathedral Oct. 15, pitching about 200 tents in the area around it and calling for an end to bank bailouts and cuts in public expenditure. After appealing to the protesters to leave, the cathedral authorities said last week that fire and health hazards posed by the camp meant St. Paul’s would have to shut for the first time since World War II.
Changes to the layout of the camp that were agreed on today have made it safe to reopen the 17th-century cathedral, the dean, Graeme Knowles, said in an e-mailed statement. Church officials will make a final decision tomorrow. Knowles said they hope the first public service would be held at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.
“The staff team here have been working flat-out with the police, fire brigade and health and safety officers,” Knowles said. “A passageway allowing evacuation procedures to be improved has been created; the kitchen providing food for those in the camp has been moved from close proximity to the building; bicycles chained to the railings have been shifted and a clear pathway restored.”
Protesters in London set up a second camp at Finsbury Square, northeast of the cathedral, on Oct. 22.
--Editors: Heather Langan, John Simpson
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