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NEWS: Occupy Toronto protesters must leave park, judge rules

Saturday’s march at Toronto City Hall. Photo by Garry Neil.

CBC reports this hour, “A judge has ruled that Occupy Toronto protesters must end their five-week long encampment at a downtown park. Superior Court Justice David Brown’s ruling, issued just after 9 a.m. on Monday, upholds eviction notices issued last week by city bylaw officers to protesters who have been camping at St. James Park since Oct. 15.”

“Protesters had argued in court they had a constitutional right to camp in the park, which is located near the corner of King Street East and Church Street. However, Mayor Rob Ford and his allies on Toronto city council have said occupiers have had their say and that neighbours and businesses in the area want the protesters to leave.”

The Globe and Mail adds, “’The Trespass Notice is constitutionally valid. I dismiss the application,’ Ontario Superior Court Judge David Brown ruled.”

“Lawyers for the protesters had argued that the encampment was a key part of the movement. Judge Brown, however, said their freedom of speech could be conveyed without the use of tents or overnight stays. …’The Charter does not permit the protesters to take over public space without asking, exclude the rest of the public from enjoying their traditional use of that space, and then contend that they are under no obligation to leave.'”

“Some protesters have said they would leave, others had vowed to stand their grounds, locking arms into human chains to resist any police intervention. …The next step will be to hold a general assembly to decide whether the group wants to occupy another park or to continue the movement without an occupation, (an Occupy Toronto spokesperson) said.”

On Saturday, in advance of the court ruling, the Council of Canadians marched with 2,000 others in support of Occupy Toronto. Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara reported that the Peel Region, York University, London, Peterborough and Toronto chapters were there, plus dozens of members.