Deal allows cathedral camp protesters to stay

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NO moves will be made to evict protesters from Sheffield Cathedral’s forecourt, following a meeting between leading members of the clergy and camp organisers.

Six representatives of Occupy Sheffield, the group which has been camped outside the cathedral for more than a month, met representatives from churches in Sheffield city centre on Monday.

Present at the discussions at the Central United Reformed Church was the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft.

Afterwards both sides said the talks were ‘positive and mutually respectful’.

A spokesman said: “The Occupy Sheffield representatives were invited to share their reasons for the camp - these centred on their concerns and anger about the increasing inequality between those who have and those who have not across the world.

“There was a very constructive discussion during which the church representatives affirmed their understanding of the issues raised Occupy and their commitment to continue keeping channels of communication open.”

Church leaders have ruled out using legal procedures to move the protesters on - despite expressing concern they could interfere with day to day church operations.

They told camp members they are there without permission - but added churches have a long history of speaking out for the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.

A spokesman for Occupy said it was hoped the meeting would be the first of many conversations.

“We are keen to discuss the draconian assaults on our hard won public services, the lack of employment opportunities for young people, the huge shortage of affordable housing, the massive rise in the cost of university education and all the many ways in which the hard-pressed citizen is being expected to pay for the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of financial institutions.”

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