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Saskatchewan government in court seeking order to remove protesters

Last Updated Aug 23, 2018 at 6:00 am MDT

Teepees are seen at the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp near the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday June 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

REGINA – The Saskatchewan government as well as protesters who have been camped outside the legislature for six months are to be in a Regina court today.

The government filed an application in July asking the court to order members from the Justice For Our Stolen Children camp to leave.

They are protesting what they say is racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.

Police moved in to break up the camp on June 18, but it was set up again a few days later.

Protesters have filed a court application of their own seeking to have six arrests made during that eviction declared illegal.

Eric Adams, a constitutional law expert at the University of Alberta, says safety concerns will probably be brought up by government lawyers.

“If the government can demonstrate those genuine demonstrable safety concerns, or evidence that the protest is inhibiting the functioning of the legislative grounds in some more than trivial way, then they’ll have a stronger case,” he said Wednesday.

He also suggested that in cases such as this one, a court is going to want to protect political expression to the greatest extent possible.

“(But) even though you have a right to that expressive activity, a court is going to find that at some point, pretty early in the process, the government can limit that expressive right for a number of other valuable policy reasons,” Adams said.

Adams said the camp reminds him of the Occupy movements of 2011 during which several parks around North America were taken over by people protesting social and economic inequality.

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