Former UK Uncut spokeswoman fronts Occupy London protesters' media relations

Occupy London's media handling is being fronted by a former UK Uncut spokeswoman who once represented the tax protest group on Newsnight.

Occupy London: protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral
Occupy London: protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral

The group behind the headline-grabbing protests at St Paul's Cathedral is using Lucy Annson as a key spokesperson.

She has been speaking to reporters from the tented protest outside the cathedral, supported by a small team who have been part of UK Uncut, Climate Camp and other grassroots protest groups.

It emerged this week that Annson, who has been widely quoted under the name 'Lucy' in the media, formerly acted as a spokeswoman for UK Uncut, which protests against corporate tax avoidance.

Annson appeared on Newsnight in March, to discuss the 'March for the Alternative' against the Government's spending cuts, which took place in London. During the interview, she was asked to condemn violence at the march, to which she responded: 'I reject the premise of the question.'

She told PRWeek that, contrary to rumour, no external PR agency is being used by the protest group. While Annson appears to be leading the group's media handling, one source at the site told PRWeek: 'No-one is in charge, it's a flat structure.'

It is understood the camp's core media group makes decisions based on votes cast by the entire camp. A source close to the protesters said: 'It makes it slightly more difficult to make it fleet of foot compared with your average PR department.'

The source said the model for the protest had evolved out of the Climate Camp protests of 2007 and 2008, which took place at Heathrow Airport and Kingsnorth power station.

'Some of the systems and techniques grew out of that,' said the source. 'After climate camp there were lots of media skills-sharing sessions, and people involved with other concerns were asking to spend time with other people to share expertise.'

Forster director Peter Gilheany said that Occupy London's biggest weakness was the 'lack of clarity' on what it was demanding: 'It has done a great service by highlighting the unaccountability of the Corporation of London, the creeping erosion of public space and the lack of empathy in the Church of England, but those are not the causes it is primarily protesting about.'

Also read: Luther Pendragon called in to boost cathedral comms over Occupy London protest

IN NUMBERS

3 Number of resignations at St Paul's caused by protests

200 Number of tents pitched outside St Paul's Cathedral*

7 Number of days that St Paul's Cathedral was closed

£16k Amount of money lost by the cathedral each day it was closed**

Source: *The Independent, 30 October **Sky News.

TIMELINE

31 October The Rt Rev Graeme Knowles resigns as Dean of St Paul's.

28 October The cathedral reopens. The Rev Fraser Dyer, a chaplain, steps down. 33rpm owner Rob Marshall blames bad press on 'a post-Christian culture'.

27 October The camp uses thermal image filming to disprove claims protesters return home at night.

26 October The cathedral's chancellor, the Rev Giles Fraser, resigns.

25 October The media report tents are empty at night.

21 October The cathedral closes.

15 October The protest springs up outside St Paul's.

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