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WIN! Eviction of Occupy Toronto delayed

CBC reports this hour, “A lawyer representing Occupy protesters in Toronto has won an injunction against a city eviction notice that was issued earlier Tuesday. Late Tuesday afternoon, Judge David Brown granted a temporary stay of the city’s eviction notice to protesters occupying St. James Park. Brown said he needs more information before he can rule on the city’s plan to remove protesters from the park. The judge will hold a hearing on Friday to further discuss the matter and deliver his verdict by 6 p.m. ET on Saturday. …Before the injunction, protesters had been given until early Wednesday morning to leave with their belongings, but some members of the group said they would stand their ground.”

CTV also reports at this hour, “The court order was granted with a condition that no one else is permitted to show up at St. James Park. The judge also warned the protesters that if more activists show up it may violate the order.”

Toronto-based Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara was in contact with the Movement Defence Committee this afternoon offering our support in their efforts to seek the injunction order against the City of Toronto’s eviction of Occupy Toronto, which was to begin at 12:01 am. The Council of Canadians is now preparing its argument as an intervener at Friday’s hearing. We will have more details on this later tonight or tomorrow morning. Our argument may be that the rights to freedom of expression and assembly must overrule a bylaw as minor as no camping in a public park. We have also made the offer to help cover some of the costs related to this afternoon’s legal intervention and Friday’s hearing.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says in a media release, “Freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association are core democratic rights that are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Without robust protection for these rights, many other rights become meaningless. In many Canadian cities Occupy protesters have worked with city officials to ensure that concerns about health, safety and public access to parks and other protest spaces are addressed. Dialogue between protesters, law enforcement and municipalities have proven productive in many instances and this should remain the primary method of addressing any issues that come up. …CCLA is concerned that some municipalities appear to have simply decided that protests have gone on long enough and should cease. …Unilateral evictions may violate constitutional guarantees. The enforcement of municipal by-laws or trespass notices may be unconstitutional as these actions may unjustifiably violate Charter rights.”

University of Alberta law professor Peter Carver has suggested there is a ’significant possibility’ that courts could rule against eviction orders from cities, especially if the tents and gear of the protesters is confiscated. And while it was overturned this evening, earlier today New York State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings issued a temporary restraining order against the New York Police Department thereby (theoretically, at least) allowing activists to return to Zuccotti Park (the location of Occupy Wall Street), preventing police from evicting them, and stopping new rules banning the use of tents by demonstrators.

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