VANCOUVER (CP) – Falun Gong practitioners say despite a recent decision they’ll still get a day in court over their ongoing protests outside the Chinese consulate in Vancouver.
The quasi-religious sect and the city are locked in a fight over the bright blue protest hut and plywood billboards the group has refused to leave for the last five years.
The city is attempting to evict it by enforcing a bylaw forbidding structures on private property without a permit.
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But the group says its freedom of speech is being violated and only a full trial can prove that the law is being applied selectively.
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan has said the group is free to protest but not build on city land.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has refused to overrule a lower court’s decision not to grant the group a trial but at a news conference today a Falun Gong lawyer is expected to outline why it still thinks it has a case.
Followers of Falun Gong, which combines tai -chi like movements and meditative practice, say the Chinese government has killed and tortured untold numbers of practioners since the movement was banned there in 1999.
The Chinese government denies the allegations.