Occupy chains protest at St Paul's

Banbury Cake: Activists from the Occupy movement stage a protest by chaining themselves to the pulpit in St Paul's Cathedral, London Activists from the Occupy movement stage a protest by chaining themselves to the pulpit in St Paul's Cathedral, London

Four women from the Occupy movement have chained themselves to the pulpit in London's St Paul's Cathedral during evensong.

The women, dressed in white, interrupted the service, shouted a list of grievances against the cathedral and read part of the Bible, according to a statement from St Paul's.

The service was then allowed to continue as the women, one in a wheelchair, remained chained to the ornate, carved pulpit under the cathedral's famous dome.

The women, one with references to the Bible written on her body, received communion while they were in chains, from priests taking the service. They also had an umbrella, spray-painted with the slogan "throw the money-changers out of the temple".

Their demonstration came as the anti-greed group marked the anniversary of the start of its camp outside the cathedral. Protesters outside unfurled a large banner bearing the same "money-changers" slogan as the four inside.

Police were called but staff said they were happy for the activists to remain inside the cathedral, a spokesman for City of London Police said. Officers instead policed the protest outside.

The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, dean of St Paul's, said he and a member of Occupy Faith, the group's religious wing, were leading a prayer when the women came up and started shouting. "I'm just sorry they have decided to do this, which makes it hard for members of Occupy Faith, who have been working together with us on something which is respectful. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul's, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for."

One of the protesters criticised St Paul's for accepting money from Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs. "How can you possibly take money from these people?" she said. "Christianity will not die if you cannot keep the cathedral open. You don't need this money."

The women cut themselves free at about 10pm after police entered the cathedral and warned them they faced arrest, an occupy spokesman said.

Last year hundreds of people set up camp outside St Paul's on October 15 after they were prevented from entering nearby Paternoster Square, where the London Stock Exchange is located, and remained there for four months.

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