LONDON — Protesters camped outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London said Thursday they are staying put as a deadline passed for them to take down their tents or face legal action.
London officials attached eviction notices to the tents Wednesday, demanding they be removed from the churchyard by 1800 GMT (1 p.m. EST) Thursday.
The Occupy London group said no one had left by the deadline, and marked its passing with a rally and a minute of silence outside the cathedral.
"The general feeling is excitement at the moment," said protester Nathan Cravens, 27. "It's brought us together."
The City of London Corporation says that if the tents are not removed it will go to court seeking an eviction notice. The first hearing will likely be next week, but the process could take months.
Speaking outside of the cathedral, lawyers John Cooper and Karen Todner said they would make sure that the interests of the protesters are "fearlessly defended."
More than 200 tents have been pitched outside the famous domed church since Oct. 15 in a protest against capitalist excess inspired by New York's Occupy Wall Street.
Police in the U.S. have been moving in to clear away similar protests, breaking up camps in Portland, Oregon, Oakland, California, and New York's Zuccotti Park over the past few days.
Cravens said there was anxiety in London that the same thing could happen here.
"The concern is that it will set a precedent," he said.