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Rev. Jesse Jackson to London protesters: 'Jesus was an Occupier'

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks to Occupy activists outside of London's St. Paul's Cathedral on Thursday.

LONDON -- Veteran activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson compared the global anti-capitalist movement to the U.S. civil rights struggle, the battle against apartheid in South Africa and the fight for Indian independence during a visit to an Occupy camp in London on Thursday.

"Jesus was an Occupier, born under a death warrant, a Jew by religion, born in poverty under Roman occupation," the two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination told a crowd near Saint Paul’s Cathedral. "Gandhi was an Occupier, Martin Luther King was an Occupier, (Nelson) Mandela was an Occupier."

A man dressed in a well-tailored dark wool jacket and crisp checked shirt – not your stereotypical Occupy protester – cried as he watched Jackson. "He is my hero," he said.

While the crowd enthusiastically joined Jackson for a chant, not everybody was supportive and a few heckles punctuated his speech. 

One man who shouted that the Occupy movement wasn't addressing the needs of the homeless was detained before he reached the podium where Jackson was standing.

F. Brinley Bruton / msnbc.com

John, 34, who has been camped next to London's Saint Paul's Cathedral since Oct. 15, waits for Rev. Jesse Jackson to address Occupy protesters on Thursday.

Another Occupier, who said he's been camped out since the protest began on Oct. 15, said he welcomed Jackson. However, he remained skeptical.

"I have mixed feelings – someone told me he's quite a wealthy person," said John, 34, who declined to give a last name. "You don't know his agenda."

F. Brinley Bruton is a senior writer for msnbc.com based in London

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