Occupy London protests

November 11, 2011, 12:05 PM GMT+0

Just 20% Britons support protests outside St Paul’s, but 39% support actual ‘aims’ of protestors

More British people support the aims of the Occupy London protesters than oppose them, our poll has found, as the camp that closed London’s St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time since World War II continues to attract controversy.

However, another recent poll found that just one in five people actively support the protest itself, suggesting that the population is less opposed to the aims of the occupiers than the actual means of protest.

The results also show that while a slim majority of Britons think that the Cathedral was wrong to close (it has since reopened), and two in five say Chancellor Dr Giles Fraser was wrong to resign, almost half say that the Cathedral and Corporation of London should take legal action to remove the occupiers.

This comes in light of the news that St Paul's has suspended the previously threatened legal action to evict the anti-capitalist demonstrators, amid reports that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is sympathetic to the cause.

  • 46% of people say they oppose the protests outside St Paul’s Cathedral
  • 20% say they support them
  • However, 39% say that they support the protestors’ aims, whether or not their support their decision to protest outside St Paul’s
  • 26% oppose the protestors’ aims regardless
  • 47% think that the Cathedral and Corporation of London should take legal action to evict
  • 39% oppose this

‘Deep exasperation’ 

The two-hundred-tent Occupy London camp that was set up on October 15th, as part of a global protest against what the occupiers perceive to be corporate greed, has divided the Cathedral’s hierarchy and led to resignations over the handling of the protest.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has recently expressed sympathy with the demonstrators by supporting a so-called ‘Robin Hood tax’ on the banks, describing the occupation as an 'expression of a widespread and deep exasperation with the financial establishment'.

‘Pressing the pause button’ 

Protestors had been threatened by legal action, but the Cathedral has since suspended its bid to have the camp forcibly evicted. Stuart Fraser, the policy chairman of the Corporation of London, explained that the cathedral's change of position on the matter means ‘the body has had to rethink'.

Fraser explained ‘we have pressed the pause button so that discussions can take place with protesters and others on how we can resolve the problem we face as a local authority - namely camping on the public highway’.

According to the Occupy London demonstrators, the Corporation’s eviction plans may not go ahead if the protestors can reduce the number of tents outside the Cathedral, thereby appeasing health and safety worries. Tina Rothery, a member of Occupy London, told the press: ‘we would have to make a slight reduction in tents in order to free up space for the fire brigade’.

With protestors looking as if they may stay in residence for some time yet, questions are being asked about what it will mean for forthcoming events to take place with the occupation still going on outside. St Paul’s events that could be affected include the Lord Mayor’s Show, Remembrance Sunday and the Christmas Eve mass.

See the survey details and full results: 28th Oct 2011 (page 12-13)

See the Survey details and full results: 4th Nov 2011 (page 8-9)