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A London authority won its court bid to evict protesters against global financial inequality from the Finsbury Square camp, one of the last remaining in the city.
The Occupy protesters must leave the land situated on the fringes of the City of London, a U.K. judge ruled today. Ranjit Bhose, a lawyer for the borough of Islington, said that forced eviction would not happen during the June 4-5 public holiday.
“The balance is overwhelmingly in favor of the council” after giving “all due weight to the human rights of the defendants,” Judge Gary Hickinbottom said. “I am not satisfied that the defendants have any substantive grounds to defend the claim.”
The Occupy Movement began in New York in September, when protesters took up residence in a park to highlight Americans who suffered as banks recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. The movement spread to cities around the world. Occupy London protesters have cost the City of London and its police authority more than 1.1 million pounds in legal and monitoring costs, according to information obtained in a Freedom of Information request from Bloomberg.
“This is not a political ideal, it is an on-the-ground matter,” Edwina Mayne, one of the protesters, said in court earlier in the day. “This is life and limb. This is no longer predominately a political camp.”
The protesters, who were not represented by lawyers in court, said that of the 99 occupants of Finsbury Square, 88 are homeless. Another protester, who identified herself as Miss Hall, told the court the group may consider taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The Islington authority served the protesters on May 11 with a legal notice of eviction from the site, an overspill of the original camp at St Paul’s Cathedral, giving them until May 18 to clear the square of tents and other temporary structures. Protesters said that they are considering appealing.
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