“Tourists won’t come to this area because they’re intimidated,” said Dan Hartley, a 22-year-old London resident who stopped to observe the demonstrators with a couple of friends. “All these shops are losing money. I don’t understand it.”
For their part, demonstrators say such worries are unfounded and the opposite is true.
“It’s bringing people in, if anything,” said Nick Fischer, a 20-year-old fast-food worker who made the trek from Liverpool with a friend to take part in the protest.
As an example, Mr. Fischer pointed to a nearby Starbucks - where many protesters hang out or use the restroom - that was packed.
“There’s always going to be a risk,” Mr. Fischer said. But he added that police in London and elsewhere in the UK learned from this summer’s riots not to “instigate.”
Police are a regular presence at St. Paul‘s, though they keep a low profile. On Sunday, several officers strolled through the maze of tents, with some drinking coffee as others took a moment to read from a vast array of posters and manifestos plastered throughout the area.
“They’re the 99 percent too,” Mr. Fischer said, employing a catchphrase of the movement.
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