Court orders independence campers to leave Scottish Parliament

Picture:  Greg Macvean
Picture: Greg Macvean
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A SENIOR judge has given the go ahead for “selfish” and “arrogant” independence campers to be evicted from the grounds of the Scottish Parliament.

Lord Turnbull ruled yesterday that so-called “indy campers” are no longer allowed to hold a permanent vigil outside the building in Holyrood.

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

In a written judgment issued at the Court of Session, Lord Turnbull concluded that it would not breach the human rights of campers to be denied a permanent presence on the parliament’s grounds.

Lord Turnbull wrote: “The officials of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body have made it plain to the respondents that there are other opportunities for them to legitimately exercise rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

READ MORE: Independence campers say Jesus wants them to stay outside Scottish Parliament

“The officials remain open to negotiations with the respondents to permit the exercise of these rights through events such as meetings, vigils and protests so long as these comply with the petitioner’s policy on such conduct.”

This rather selfish or even arrogant approach was well illustrated in two ways. First by the way in which the respondents felt able to hold a barbecue and social gathering in and around the area of the camp which they openly advertised on social media.

Lord Turnbull

The decision follows months of litigation by the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body.

Lawyers acting for the corporate body claimed that the independence camp was stopping others from using the parliament’s facilities.

However, independence campers used eccentric arguments before the judge in an attempt to allow them to stay on. A man claiming to be the Archangel Michael said the presence of the camp would encourage the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Protestor Richard McFarlane told Lord Turnbull: “We have spoken to Jesus who is here for his second coming and he would like you to stop this if you can please.”

Picture: JP

Picture: JP

The camp is located on ground which the Corporate Body says is an area for people wishing to protest.

Lord Turnbull said that available evidence showed that the campers had damaged ground at the parliament by parking vehicles there.

READ MORE: Scottish independence camp sets up in Glasgow’s George Square

He also concluded that their presence was discouraging other people from using the facility. He wrote: “In essence the respondents’ position seems to be that their rights under article 10 and 11 should trump both the petitioner’s right to possession and the rights of others to enjoy undisturbed use of the grounds.

Picture: JP

Picture: JP

“This rather selfish or even arrogant approach was well illustrated in two ways. First by the way in which the respondents felt able to hold a barbecue and social gathering in and around the area of the camp which they openly advertised on social media. Second, the affidavits provided, as taken along with the photographs, make it plain that damage has been caused to the grounds of the parliament by vehicles being parked on the grassed areas and by other means.”

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body now has the legal authority to proceed against the campers.

Last night campaigners Gary and Indy – who would not give their last names – said they would seek to appeal the decision through the courts.

Gary said: “Our human rights have been violated – every single last bit of them.”

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