London

No Parliament Square camp eviction before royal wedding

  • 28 March 2011
  • From the section London

Peace protesters camping on the pavement in London's Parliament Square will not be evicted before the royal wedding, it has emerged.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will get married just across the Square in Westminster Abbey on 29 April.

Westminster Council has been told it will not be able to get a court hearing to enable an eviction of protesters until 9 May.

The protesters could be fined £1,000 if Westminster's application is agreed.

Campaigners set up "Democracy Village" on the green in May 2010 but they were evicted in July by the Greater London Authority (GLA) following a High Court order.

Earlier this month, veteran peace campaigner Brian Haw lost his case to keep his camp in Parliament Square after the mayor of London won a possession order.

But Mr Haw and many of the protesters have subsequently moved on to the pavement, which is controlled by Westminster Council.

Westminster Council leader, Councillor Colin Barrow, said: "The council has been attempting to have the protesters removed from Parliament Square for several years regardless of the Royal Wedding.

"Of course we want Westminster to look its absolute best for 29 April when the eyes of the world we be upon us, but what is ultimately more important is that this world heritage site is returned to all Londoners and visitors once and for all.

"We fully support the right to protest and will continue to accommodate peaceful protesters."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are exploring a range of options in consultation with those responsible for wedding planning arrangements to ensure Parliament Square is in a fit and proper state for the royal wedding.

"The government fully supports the right to peaceful protest, but this doesn't mean allowing people to take over a public space.

"That is why we have introduced measures in the police and social responsibility bill to target disruptive activities in Parliament Square and footways nearby."

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