Paternoster square may have escaped occupation (for now) but St Pauls is becoming a tent village - 116 at last count. Occupy Wall Street started with a few hundred people some four weeks ago - is this the death knell for British protest apathy?
As they arrived in the early hours of saturday morning protesters were greeted by this cheerful sign.
"Paternoster Square is private land. Any licence to the public to enter or cross this land is revoked forthwith. There is no implied or express permission to enter the premises or any part. Any such entry will constitute a trespass."
Taking no chances that the historical 'cattle market' would once again be occupied by the Chattel (thats what they call you and me) the owners of Paternoster square1 -not to mention the 'state within a state' of City of London Police (denoted by the red livery on their caps) - took steps to prevent the peaceful occupation. So the peaceful occupiers took to the steps of St Pauls Cathedral.
The initial 3000 or so protesters (depending on who you ask) slowly depleted during the day as first they were kettled, then seperated by concentric kettling, then in some cases, literally thrown off the steps of St Pauls. Police have remarked that the heavy handed approach - kettling, photographing and cataloguing of protesters was entirely necessary to prevent a breach of the peace. It may be argued that the only breach of the peace was by the 'peace officers' themselves.
To avoid accusations of censorship and political philandering, the mainstream media paid lip service to the occupation, with the BBC (British Bullshit Corporation) briefly describing the affair as a few hundred protesters outside St Pauls and focusing the majority of the evening news on small pockets of violence in the Italian protests and the death of some soap star from a distant past.
As the weekend progressed various luminaries of the left, right and political flip-flopping anarchists appeared to help sell their books show their support. Notably Julian Assange addressed the crowd on Saturday, Old Holdborn cavorted and frolicked on sunday afternoon and Charlie Veitch appeared at random, pandering to anyone that would still listen, whilst keeping one eye out for RT.com and BBC.co.uk cameras.
If Boris 'bumblefuck' Johnson is true to form, him and his Bullingdon3 mates will be pissing on the protesters and demanding they be cleansed from the streets.
Sunday morning and the Police were told to move along by the Canon Chancellor of St Pauls and protesters were welcomed in to sunday morning mass - the church doesn't care who comes to mass these days so long as someone does.
Demands have been issued - the most important of which, in my opinion, is number 3
3 - We refuse to pay for the banks' crisis.
Quite how they envisage the fluffy primary demand being achieved is quite beyond me. In fact, this is a statement. It can never be satisfied.
1 The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.
As sunday becomes monday confusion reigns as the number of twitterati claiming to be official #occupylsx mouthpieces increases and contradictory messages are sent from @occupylsx - presumably anyone with a working phone is the current leader.
Early in the protest there were fears that people would be moved on and prevented from occupying anything other than a kettle followed by a meat wagon. As I type there are over 100 tents onsite but worryingly, the portaloos are being removed.
The establishment may not be able to continue to use heavy handed tactics to remove the protesters but the signs that they won't stand for a protracted #occupywallstreet protest are already there. In New York the Mayor is using the excuse of sanitation and public health to rally popular opinion to crush the rebellion. Removing the porcelain is just the first sign of how this will unfold.
If Boris 'bumblefuck' Johnson is true to form, him and his Bullingdon mates will be pissing on the protesters and demanding they be cleansed from the streets.
If #occupylsx makes it to November 5th then everyone involved should be extremely pleased with themselves. But with a heavy police presence, no pot to piss in, negative media coverage and probably negative temperatures (minus 20 degrees!) to deal with perhaps just making it to next weekend would be a great achievement.
All images copyright Ben Macfadyen, click here to follow him on Twitter
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