British anti-war protestors win stay in legal battle

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Anti-war protestors camping outside the Houses of Parliament in London had their planned eviction put off after months of demonstrations Friday as the Court of Appeal ruled in their favour.

The encampment of some 30 tents, situated in Parliament Square between parliament and Westminster Abbey, had faced removal after London Mayor Boris Johnson won a High Court battle this week to evict them.

But now organisers of the demonstration against the war in Afghanistan say they have been allowed stay until at least July 19, when the next round of the legal dispute is expected to take place.

The announcement came after the Court of Appeal granted a temporary stay and said the case should be heard before a full court as soon as possible.

"That's pretty amazing," former anthropology professor Chris Knight, 67, one of the organisers, told the crowd in response to the news.

"We're here and by that stage how much of a signal would we have got out? It's very difficult for politicians to crush democracy right outside the mother of parliaments".

In a noisy protest after the news was announced, several people climbed up the gates of parliament and one woman got over, an AFP reporter at the scene said, adding that they later blocked the road outside with a sit-in protest.

Although the anti-war demonstration is the main focus of the peace camp, there were also banners condemning capitalism and bankers, plus a section dedicated to climate change.

© 2010 AFP

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