Occupy London Gets British Bankers Association CEO Meeting

Occupy London Gets British Bankers Association CEO Meeting
Police officers guard the entrance to the British Bankers Association headquarters in London on May 15, 2012. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

About 80 Occupy London protesters rallied outside the British Bankers Association’s headquarters, demanding a meeting with Chief Executive Officer Angela Knight.

Knight met with three demonstrators today inside the BBA’s building on Old Broad Street in the City’s financial district, said an Occupy organizer, Ryan Hickey. They would have preferred she met them outside where all could ask questions, he said.

“She listened to their views and explained how the U.K. has a world-leading banking center, employing around half a million people and making one of the largest contributions to the country through tax and charitable giving,” the BBA said in an e-mailed statement. “She said she understood the concerns of the group, had no doubts about their sincerity.” The meeting lasted about 25 minutes.

The Occupy movement began in New York in September and spread to Europe, Asia and Australia to oppose bank bailouts, austerity measures and corporate profits. As Britain’s coalition government oversees public-spending cuts, the U.K. last quarter fell into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s.

No arrests were made, according to a City of London Police spokeswoman, who declined to be identified in line with policy.

Michael Richmond, 26, a novelist from London, said he was protesting against the BBA because it “represents the interests of all investment banks” at the expense of other groups and because the group is given a “free run” by the media.

Knight will step down in July after five years at the BBA, the group said last month. She is to become CEO of Energy U.K., an energy-industry trade association.

The protesters’ first camp at St. Paul’s Cathedral led to Christopher Wren’s 17th century masterpiece closing in October. Ten days later its dean, Graeme Knowles, said he would resign, after criticism over the church’s handling of the protesters.

Demonstrators camped in London’s Finsbury Square were ordered on May 11 to leave by May 18 or face legal proceedings.

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