Photo: Yepoka Yeebo / Business Insider
Today thousands of protestors converged on London’s financial district, blocking traffic and demanding access to the London Stock Exchange.Protestors ranged from management consultants and suburban mums to the usual band of socialist campaigners and ageing Communists.
Julian Assange joined protestors, addressing the crowd from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, steps from the stock exchange.
Police closed in on the demonstrators, eventually confining them to the plaza around the cathedral. This prompted protestors to start setting up camp on the steps of St. Paul’s, hoping to emulate the encampment in Zucotti Park.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside St Paul's Cathedral, next to the London Stock Exchange.
Protestors demanded access to the London Stock Exchange at Paternoster Square, chanting 'Whose street? Our Street.'
Paternoster Square is a private development owned by Mitsubishi Estate, the real estate arm of the multinational.
Peter Glandfield, a management consultant from the quiet English town of Leamington Spa said financial institutions were getting too big, and completely out of control.
Rachel Mamer, who described herself as 'a mum with a mortgage,' said she didn't want her kids to grow up in a world without justice.
'Jesus Christ himself said usury -- making money from money -- was a sin,' said Jam, from the city of Manchester, which is a two-hour train ride from London.
'The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and there's nothing we can do about it, we need a real democracy,' said John Miller, who planned to bed down once protestors decided where to occupy. John, who works for the Tesco supermarket chain, said he planned to go to work during the day, and go back to occupying at night.
'How else are we going to make the point?' added Tanya Hart.
'Banks are gambling with our money while people suffer,' said Tolvin Ors. 'If they make a profit it's theirs, if they make a loss, it's ours.'
Police officers from forces including the Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police and the British Transport Police closed in on protestors, using a controversial tactic called 'kettling' to keep demonstrators in one place.
'We need a sustainable economy,' said Ethan Race, adding that he was protesting for 'all the usual cliches.'
'Paper money is just an empty promise,' said Houda Cheikh. 'Gold and silver hold their value,' she added.
This woman, who did not want to give her name, left as police lifted cordons. On a Twitter feed, the Metropolitan police first denied fencing in protesters, then said protesters were being 'contained' for their own safety.
Police officers stood guard at every entrance to the London Stock Exchange, blocking protesters occasional attempts to get in.
There are very few workers in London's financial district on Saturdays, but hundreds of tourists were caught in the chaos.
Demonstrators occupied the steps of St Paul's Cathedral for hours before police moved in. Officers said they had a duty to protect the iconic building from criminal damage.
Protesters set up tarps, tents and sleeping bags in the plaza between St. Paul's Cathedral and the stock exchange.
Starbucks let protesters use their bathrooms, local restaurant chains handed out water, organisers handed out food and a row of portable bathrooms appeared as the tent city grew.
Police officers stressed that camping on the grounds of the cathedral would be 'illegal and disrespectful.' St. Paul's is an active Anglican church. Tourists, visitors and even a wedding party streamed in and out of the building on Saturday, and full services are still planned for Sunday.
It's Getting Massive, As Hundreds Of Occupy Wall Street Protests Are Happening All Around The World Today
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