2011-12-06 / World

Judge weighs Occupy ruling

BANGOR (AP) — A federal judge on Monday promised a ruling within two days on Occupy Augusta’s request for a court order allowing the activists to remain in a park near the Maine State House without a permit.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen said during the 1 1/2-hour hearing she would rule by the end of Wednesday on whether to issue an order barring the Capitol Police from requiring a permit for the activists’ “tent city” in Capitol Park. Activists, who asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order, say they have a constitutional right to maintain a presence in the park, where they’ve been since Oct. 15.

In the meantime, “everything’s the same,” Brenda Kielty, a special assistant to Attorney General William Schneider, said after the hearing. Both sides are expected to file updated briefs to the court in advance of the judge’s ruling.

Last week, activists and police agreed to a standstill on the continued occupation of the state-owned park until the judge could issue a ruling. Protesters agreed to not add to their encampment and police agreed to take no action to evict them. Kielty said there was no indication either side would change its position after Monday’s hearing.

Attorneys for the state told the judge that the Occupy group has no legal standing.

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