London's iconic cathedral survived bombings from Hitler, but they're having a hard time with the Occupy London protesters. The Dean of the Cathedral, Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, asked the 500 or so activists camped out on the St. Paul's doorstep to leave after Friday afternoon services, "The decision to close St Paul's Cathedral is unprecedented in modern times," Knowles said, adding that the decision had been made with a "heavy heart," the BBC reports. This is the first time since World War II that the cathedral has closed its doors to the public. "I'm asking the protesters to recognize the huge issues we face, asking them to leave the vicinity of the building so it can open as soon as possible," Knowles said. "With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a clear fire hazard. Then there is the public health aspect, which speaks for itself. The dangers relate not just to cathedral staff and visitors but are a potential hazard to those encamped."
It sort of sounds like the St. Paul's staff is calling the protesters dirty and dangerous, and they're not happy about it. I'm really disappointed, because there has been no violence here," 36-year-old protester Diane Richards told the Associated Press. Still, the crowd that's camping out is growing at a breakneck pace. The Daily Mail reports that the number of tents pitched has grown from 120 on Monday to over 200 on Friday.
The protesters themselves look neat enough, but as fellow protesters in New York have shown, the real problems begin when bathroom access is cut off.