Court delays Occupy Toronto evictions

Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:37am EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - "Occupy" protesters in Toronto have at least until Saturday to determine their next move after a Toronto court ruled the city cannot evict them from their downtown park encampment until a hearing is held.

The court ruling, issued hours after city officials posted eviction notices on tents in Toronto's St. James Park, followed a court challenge by a small group of protesters and averted a potential showdown with police late on Tuesday.

Protesters argued the eviction violated their rights of "freedom of conscience, expression, peaceful assembly and association" under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Canadian Constitution, according to the text of the court ruling.

The park has been the home to hundreds of protesters since October 15, and Occupy Toronto organizers vowed to remain at the encampment despite city threats that they would be evicted at midnight.

Protesters and city officials will argue their cases at a hearing on Friday. The court has promised a decision the following day.

The dispute comes after the police-backed eviction of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in New York's Zuccotti Park on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)