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Occupy London: Protesters To Learn Eviction Decision At High Court

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A decision is due on the attempt by the City of London Corporation to evict anti-capitalist protesters from outside St Paul's Cathedral.

After a five day High Court hearing, which finished just before Christmas, Justice Lindblom will rule at about 2pm today on whether to grant orders for possession and injunctions against Occupy London.

"We invite all those who care about the outcome of the case to join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice from 1.30pm. Bring your banners, bring your gusto," Occupy London said in a statement on its website.

"A press conference will follow on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice straight after the judgment. Please note that Occupy London will not be making any comments on legal aspects of the decision beforehand."

Protesters have called for a "ring of prayer" to be formed at the camp in "an act in a spirit of love towards all concerned" if the decision goes against them.

"There's massive historic and natural power running through the sites," a supporter wrote on the group's Facebook page. "Any form of group meditation or prayer ... is greatly amplified in effect."

Others have called for no-violent resistance as the group vowed to fight on.

A similar protest in Bristol agreed to leave its own site outside the city's cathedral after a court decision last week.

The City argues that the camp, which has been in place since 15 October, has attracted vulnerable people and has become crime-ridden and unsanitary. They also argue graffiti has become an issue, and add the camp has become unsafe.

David Frostick, counsel for the corporation, said in his closing remarks in December: "We do not live in a system under which even the most passionate protester can decide what detriment others should be prepared to tolerate.

The corporation has added that it supports the right to protest - a statement that reported caused stifled laughter when made in the High Court.

Instead it argues that the European Convention on Human Rights did not justify a semi-permanent campsite on the public highway - particularly in a location like St Paul's Churchyard.

Lawyers for the protesters argued that the case raised an issue of "extreme public importance" and that freedom of expression was a liberty which must be jealously guarded by the courts.

John Cooper QC, for Occupy LSX, said that the impact on the area had been exaggerated.

Occupy argues it did not prevent worship at St Paul's and any impact it did have on on those visiting, walking through or working in the vicinity was not solely detrimental.

They said that politicians, members of the public and commentators had expressed support for the camp's presence and the sentiments behind it, at a time when there was a consensus that the issues it raised needed addressing.

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