TENTS were pitched on the forecourt of Sheffield Cathedral this week as an international campaign against social and economic inequality set up a base in the city.
Occupy Sheffield was in its fifth day yesterday (Wednesday) after local protesters took their cue from the demonstration outside St Paul’s Cathedral and other high-profile locations around the world.
Campaigners said they intended to stay outside the cathedral for as long as possible as part of the movement to highlight ‘corporate greed’ and the concentration of global wealth in few hands.
More than a dozen small tents were on the forecourt, along with a marquee designated as an information point, library and reception.
Appeals were being made for people to sign up for shifts in the reception and kitchen and to act as ‘camp ambassadors’ and for ‘night tranquility patrols’. Speakers were being lined up, and invitations being made to artists, musicians and poets.
Around 50 campaigners marched from City Hall to the Cathedral on Saturday, protesting “against poverty and capitalism”.
They said they had chosen the location off Church Street because it was across the road from the Cutlers Hall, a focal point for the city’s business community.
The land is owned by Sheffield Cathedral. The Dean, the Very Rev Peter Bradley, said: “We respect people’s right to protest. As long as the protest remains peaceful and providing they do not cause any problems for people using the cathedral, we will not be taking any action against them.”
Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield said: “The Occupy movements outside St Paul’s, in the heart of the City of London, and internationally are raising extremely important points about the way that our economic system isn’t working for the majority of people.
“Not everyone will support the methods of the protesters but that doesn’t mean the concerns they are raising should be dismissed.
“We need a more responsible economy and the Occupy protests are part of the debate about how we achieve this.
“I welcome peaceful protest on these issues, but hope that the important work of Sheffield Cathedral, particularly with the homeless, won’t be affected.”
Bernard Little, co-chairman of Sheffield Green Party, said: “The Green Party congratulates Occupy Sheffield and UK Uncut Sheffield in joining with 900 cities across the world to express their rage against bankers, corporations and crony capitalism.”