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St. Paul's to reopen as protest goes on

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Protestors fill the square surrounding St.Pauls Cathedral at an Anti-Capitalist protest against the wrongs of the global banking system in London on Saturday October 15 2011. About two thousand peaceful protesters have filled St.Pauls Square next to the London Stock exchange with a very strong police presence. UPI/HugoPhilpott
Protestors fill the square surrounding St.Pauls Cathedral at an Anti-Capitalist protest against the wrongs of the global banking system in London on Saturday October 15 2011. About two thousand peaceful protesters have filled St.Pauls Square next to the London Stock exchange with a very strong police presence. UPI/HugoPhilpott | License Photo

LONDON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- St. Paul's Cathedral in London, closed last week because officials said a protest camp outside posed a risk to visitors, will reopen Friday, its dean said.

The Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles said Wednesday there had been "significant" changes to the Occupy the London Stock Exchange encampment, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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"The staff team here have been working flat out with the police, fire brigade, and health and safety officers to try to ensure that we have confidence in the safety of our worshipers, visitors and staff, which will allow us to reopen," he said. "We have wide statutory obligations to ensure the safety of our staff, congregation, visitors and pilgrims."

Knowles and other clergy at the cathedral have expressed sympathy with the protest and have said they would not join an effort by the city of London to evict the encampment. The Rev. Giles Fraser, the canon chancellor, said he would resign if the church took action, the report said.

Bishop of London Richard Chartres, on the other hand, has said the church should join the eviction action.

The closing, the first since World War II, has cost the cathedral thousands of pounds in revenue from tourists.

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