Occupy Toronto St. James Church

Church won't allow occupiers to stay if they lose in court

As the City and Occupy Toronto prepare for legal proceedings regarding the rights of the occupiers to retain their encampment in St. James Park, the local congregation has made it clear that it will side with the judge's decision. Based on the fact that part of the the park belongs to St. James Cathedral, there's been speculation that if the City's eviction notice is upheld, protesters will set-up their tents on church land as a strategy to continue the occupation.

"We are not going to be taken over by either one party or another," explained Reverend Douglas Stoute. "This is a place of worship and not a franchise for any movement."

Stoute tried to tone down talk of the protesters defying the court when asked about the church's position. "We expect that the occupiers who have gone to the court will also respect that decision. Rhetoric that indicates that some will not follow the decision is inviting chaos and I would suspect perhaps even violence and that's what we don't want."

I have to say he's right. Now that the matter has been put to the courts on the grounds that the eviction notice violates the protesters Charter rights, it doesn't make much sense to cling to a technicality as a way to prolong the occupation. And even if it does, St. James Cathedral has ruled that out as a possibility, anyway.

Photo by Tom Ryaboi


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