B.C. Falun Gong protest removed after 2,730 days

17 Feb


After 2,730 days, a longtime symbol of peaceful protest in B.C. is now gone.

The structure that has housed Falun Gong protestors around the clock since 2001 in front of Vancouver’s Chinese Consulate was removed overnight by the protesters themselves.

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the protest site on Granville St. violated city bylaws and ordered them to remove their billboards and protest hut.

Falun Gong practitioners argued the bylaw stifled their freedom of expression rights.

But Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein ruled there were no exceptional circumstances and that erecting permanent structures goes against the fundamental purpose of the street.

Group spokesperson Sophia Bronwen says they are disappointed.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Falun Gong protesters to remove their billboards and protest hut from the front of the Chinese consulate in Vancouver.Jan. 29, 2009.

Bronwen says the group will continue their appeal on the street despite the removal of the permanent structure.

Members lost a last-ditch appeal Monday to keep up the protest site. B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Lance Fitch dismissed the stay application, stating the protesters may suffer some harm to their cause by the order but not enough to uphold a stay.

(ctv.ca, Wednesday, February 11, 2009 )


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