ANTI-capitalist protesters who have set up tents in Sheffield have been warned to remain peaceful and not interfere with the running of the Cathedral.
The Occupy Sheffield camp, outside the Cathedral, has been erected in the wake of similar protests outside St Paul’s Cathedral in the city of London and in hundreds of other cities worldwide.
It is unclear how long the Sheffield camp will remain.
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.”
Sheffield Council’s opposition Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “If the protesters cause problems for the day-to-day running of the cathedral, they will lose public sympathy.”
Protesters have received support from Bernard Little, co-chairman of Sheffield Green Party, who 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.”
Mr Little said his party backed the protest despite admitting the movement is unclear about what it is demanding as an alternative.
Labour and Lib Dem politicians had some sympathy with the protesters but urged them not to cause problems for the day-to-day running of the cathedral.
The protest is on land owned by Sheffield Cathedral, so the city council said it has no power to intervene and force the campers to move on.
Dean of Sheffield, 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.”