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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vancouver: Falun Gong bid for full trial rejected

Stay tuned, there is more to this story than a mere bylaw infraction!

Granville St. protest camp will stay up into new year

The Province (15 December, 2006) - The protesters yesterday failed to persuade a judge to hold a full trial over issues surrounding the City of Vancouver's petition to remove their camp.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein gave the protesters 30 more days to file affidavits in response to the petition filed in August.

The protesters had argued that there were complex Charter of Rights issues to be determined and that a trial was needed.

The city argued that such a move was premature and the judge agreed, noting that the case lends itself better to a petition hearing, a shorter process with lawyers' submissions.

Joe Arvay, a lawyer for the protesters, said a decision on an appeal will be made in the new year.

In June, the protesters were given a deadline to remove a sidewalk shed and wall-mounted signs that have been fixed in place for five years in front of the Chinese consulate on Granville Street.

The city says the protest camp, staffed by at least one protester at all times, violates a bylaw requiring structures to have city approval.

Falun Gong has been described as a combination of exercise, meditation and spiritual belief.

Adherents say there's been a well-documented genocide against their group by the Chinese government.

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