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Pro-independence campers appeal against Holyrood eviction

The group set up outside the Scottish Parliament in November 2015, sparking a court battle.

By STV News

Published 16 Aug 2016.

Pro-independence campaigners who set up camp outside the Scottish Parliament have lodged an appeal against their eviction.

The group set up outside Holyrood in November 2015 and pledged to stay until Scotland gained independence.

The camp sparked a seven-month court battle as the parliament's corporate body sought to evict them.

Judge Lord Turnbull ruled in favour of the parliament last month and granted a petition to have the campers evicted.

The group lodged an appeal against his ruling at the Court of Session on Tuesday.

In a written judgment published on July 27, Lord Turnbull found the ruling against the campaigners would not "deprive them of the essence" of their human rights.

The campaigners had argued at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that eviction would infringe their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.

Gerry Moynihan QC, representing the Scottish Parliament, had argued the group had a right to protest but not to occupy land belonging to a third party either permanently or indeterminately.

He said the camp interfered with the functioning of parliament and the right of others to use the grounds as well as damaging the land.

Groups of campaigners put forward several arguments against eviction, including claiming Jesus Christ had given permission for the camp and claiming all judges were criminals and should be executed, along with the Queen.

Advocate Jamie Gardner, representing some members of the camp, claimed the continuous nature and location of the protest was of its "essence."

Others argued eviction would be disproportionate because they peacefully occupy a small space on the grounds and do not interfere with the rights of others. Lord Turnbull ruled against these claims.

The campaigners had until August 17 to appeal against the decision.

A hearing date has not yet been fixed for the appeal.

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