London officials attached eviction notices to protest tents outside St. Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday, asking the demonstrators to remove the camp within a day or face legal action.
The notices posted by the City of London Corporation said the encampment was "an unlawful obstruction" of a sidewalk, and asked protesters to take down "all tents and other structures" by 6 p.m. (1800 GMT, 1 p.m. EST) Thursday.
Cathedral and city officials had suspended legal action to remove the camp two weeks ago, and offered the protesters a deal to allow them to stay until the new year if they then agreed to leave. But the corporation said Tuesday that talks had failed and it was resuming legal action.
If the tents are not removed, the corporation says it will go to court seeking an eviction notice _ a process that could take weeks or months.
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, and the protesters said they would resist attempts to move them.
"We will contest it," spokeswoman Naomi Colvin said. "We will be speaking to our legal team and we will be fighting it."
The governing Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral said in a statement that it recognized "the local authority's statutory right to proceed with the action it has today," but would continue to meet with protesters in a bid to find a peaceful solution.
Police in the U.S. have been moving in to clear away similar protests, breaking up camps in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, Oakland, California, on Monday and on Tuesday in New York, where about 200 people were arrested. No immediate police action is likely in London as the case moves into the courts.
Within an hour, the new notices in London had been ripped down.
Tammy Lawrence, a 33-year-old demonstrator, said that she was not going to leave.
"I get freezing cold at night, but I believe in what we're doing and I'm happy to sacrifice something for it," she said.
"All we're going to do if the police come in is sit down."