Video: Occupy London protesters evicted by police in overnight operation, 20 arrested
PROTESTORS camping at St Paul's Cathedral in London as part of the Occupy movement have been evicted by police after losing a Court of Appeal challenge.
At least 20 people were arrested in the operation which police described as ‘peaceful’.
The camp, which was set up in the shadow of the Cathedral last October, was dismantled by officers and around 100 bailiffs after the eviction started shortly after midnight.
Occupy London was refused permission by the Court of Appeal last week to challenge orders evicting protesters from the site.
The group was told they had no arguable case by the appeal judges, led by Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls.
It follows a lengthy legal dispute between the City of London and the protesters.
Bailiffs dismantled wooden structures and loaded tents, placards and banners into rubbish lorries. There was also believed to be around a dozen arrests.
A spokesman for City of London Police said: "At 12.10am bailiffs employed by City of London Corporation began enforcing a High Court order for the removal of tents and equipment outside St Paul's Cathedral.
"Officers from City of London Police, supported by the Met Police, are present to ensure public safety and maintain order."
The atmosphere at the site was said to be peaceful although some protesters created makeshift barriers out of wooden shelving units.
Occupy London said the eviction did not mark the end of the protest which began as a response to the financial industry and corporate greed.
Kai Wargalla, a spokesman for the Occupy movement, said: "It's really sad what's happening today but I think we can be proud of what we've achieved.
"Our community is being attacked here, but we're going to reconvene and come back stronger. We're going to think about our strategy and tactics and it's going to be an interesting time."
Ms Wargalla, 27, a student from Germany, had been camping outside the cathedral since the occupation began in October.
She said police gave campers five minutes' warning to clear their belongings before today's eviction.
"I had already taken my valuables to Finsbury Square, so I just left my tent with my blankets, sleeping bags and pillows in it. It was all thrown away by the police," she said.
By 3.30am the remaining handful of protesters standing on the makeshift structure had been cleared from the top of it, allowing bailiffs to dismantle it completely.