London mayor wins court battle with protestors
London mayor Boris Johnson won a High Court battle Tuesday to evict anti-war protestors from Parliament Square in central London, where they had been installed for nearly two months.
Judge Griffith Williams ruled in Johnson's favour over the protestors, who set up a peace camp on May 1 on the grassy square outside the House of Commons, just across from Big Ben.
"The mayor is pleased that the court has supported the Greater London Authority's application to re-gain possession of Parliament Square Gardens," said a spokesman.
"The mayor respects the right to demonstrate -- however, the scale and impact of the protest, which has gone on since May 1, has caused considerable damage to the square and has prevented its peaceful use by other Londoners."
The judge refused permission to appeal, but said his ruling would not be enforced before Friday -- although an AFP photographer said protestors appeared to be packing up Tuesday, after the verdict.
Westminster City Council leader Colin Barrow added: "We are delighted by this decision as we feel that the hijacking of Parliament Square, one of London's historic public spaces, needed to be brought to an end.
"We all support peaceful protest, but it is completely unacceptable for parts of our city to be occupied and turned into no-go areas by vociferous minorities, however laudable each cause might be."
© 2010 AFP