Court Date Set Over Holyrood Pro-Independence Camp

A court hearing regarding the presence of a pro-independence camp outside the Scottish Parliament will take place later this month.

Activists have refused to leave unless Scotland is granted a second independence referendum, but Holyrood chiefs say having the camp there is at odds with the parliament's ''politically-neutral position''.

Following a hearing at the Court of Session, chief executive Paul Grice wrote to MSPs informing them that the case will be argued on March 24.

He said: "We welcome the progress made today and will now focus our efforts on preparing for the legal debate.

"It is likely the judge will not reach a decision on the 24 March, but may want time to reflect on the case before reaching a view.

"I recognise the decision may issue during the forthcoming dissolution period and will update in-coming Members on the position at the earliest opportunity.''

He added: "We recognise the importance of peaceful protest in a democratic society.

"However, the occupation of a public space on an exclusive basis and to the exclusion of others is not a precedent we wish to see established. Moreover the presence of a permanent camp advocating a particular position is at odds with our policy of maintaining a politically neutral position.

"The Corporate Body regrets that it has been forced to take this action but given the protesters refusal to vacate the land or consider alternative options such as on-going daily protests, we were left with no choice.''

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