Occupy London await appeal verdict on 'draconian' eviction orders

By staff writers
15 Feb 2012

Legal action by the City of London Corporation to evict the Occupy camp at St Paul's Cathedral is "draconian", the Court of Appeal has heard.

Occupy London are seeking permission to challenge the High Court's decision to grant orders of possession and injunctions.

Having heard both sides, the Court of Appeal has reserved judgement until 22 February 2012.

Supporters of Occupy are pledged to rally round. They include those Christians and others who are committed to a 'ring of prayer' to protect the camp from forcible eviction.

Lawyers for the protesters against corporate greed and economic injustice said the City of London Corporation's action was "more extreme and more draconian than was necessary".

Occupy LSX set up the camp outside the cathedral, their first in the capital, on 15 October 2011, after being ejected from Paternoster Square in the heart of the City.

Speaking for the protesters, John Cooper QC, told the court earlier this week: "The crux is that the steps taken in the court below were more extreme and more draconian than was necessary."

The barrister said Mr Justice Lindblom conducted a "perfectly fair" hearing, but the judge could have opted for less "intrusive" steps which interfered with the protesters' rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Cooper added: "In the context of the fair hearing, the judge simply accepted what the City wanted and rubber-stamped it. We submit this should not have been a rubber-stamping exercise, but a rigorous consideration of the alternatives."

On 12 February, OLSX spokespeople declared: "During nearly four months of continuous occupation at St Paul’s churchyard, a diverse group of citizens have joined voices with the global Occupy movement, making a stand on corporate greed, banking reform, executive pay and economic injustice. In doing so, they have successfully influenced the political debate throughout the UK and beyond.

"Occupy London is calling for all supporters and concerned citizens to stand with us at this crucial moment and show solidarity with the ideals we are fighting for.

"We recognise that people will want to show their support in different ways. We ask that, whatever you do, you consider the legal implications of your actions and the impact these might have on your own position and on the movement as a whole."

* More from OLSX here: http://occupylsx.org/?p=3600
* Ring of Prayer in support of Occupy: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ring-of-prayer-at-eviction-of-ocupy-...

[Ekk/3]

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