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Occupy London protesters lose court eviction battle

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:36 PM EST, Wed January 18, 2012
Occupy London protesters have been camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London since last October.
Occupy London protesters have been camped outside St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London since last October.
  • Occupy London protesters set up camp outside St. Paul's Cathedral in October
  • The tent city is in the heart of the city's financial district
  • City of London authorities say they hope the protesters will remove their tents voluntarily
  • The Occupy London group will appeal the court's ruling Thursday

London (CNN) -- Occupy London protesters who have been camped outside the landmark St. Paul's Cathedral for the past three months lost their court bid to avoid eviction Wednesday.

The High Court ruled in favor of the City of London Corporation, the body that runs London's financial district, which applied for an eviction order after the protesters failed to abide by a previous order to pack up the camp.

The Occupy London group will lodge an appeal against the ruling at the Court of Appeals on Thursday, their lawyer said.

Barrister John Cooper said his clients had concerns about some of the evidence presented in court, which they said appeared to come from the cathedral rather than the City of London Corporation.

He said the case was important because it was pushing the boundaries of the law as it relates to public protest.

The activists, who set up camp outside the cathedral October 15, have been protesting against corporate greed and economic inequality.

Stuart Fraser, policy chairman for the City of London Corporation, said after the judgment that the action was taken to "clear the tents and equipment at St Paul's.

"We hope the protesters will now remove the tents voluntarily. If not, and subject to any appeal proceedings, we will be considering enforcement action.

"Lawful protests are a regular part of City life but tents, equipment and increasingly, quite a lot of mess and nuisance, is not what a highway is for and the public generally is losing out -- as evidence before the court made clear," Fraser said.

Many of the tents set up by the Occupy activists around St. Paul's are on what the corporation designates as a public road.

St. Paul's suspended its own legal action against the activists in November, after a number of senior cathedral figures resigned over the threat to evict them.

CNN's Jonathan Wald and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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