VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Falun Gong practitioners who have held a long, silent protest in front of the Chinese Consulate here claim the city of Vancouver colluded with the Chinese Communist Party to write a bylaw aimed at ending the vigil.
With help from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Falun Gong practitioners sued the city to protest what they call an unconstitutional bylaw restricting structures erected on city streets and sidewalks.
Sue Zhang and other Falun Gong members claim in B.C. Supreme Court that the city already lost a court battle over an earlier version of the bylaw, and that the new law, enacted in April, also unconstitutionally restricts protesters' right to freedom of expression.
"The By-Law has been drafted in bad faith, in collusion with the Chinese Communist Party for the purpose of interfering with the Petitioners' political expression," the petition states. "Sections of the By-Law are arbitrary in their limitations and serve no legitimate purpose whatsoever."
The protesters say the new law prevents the use of "expressive" billboards and arbitrarily restricts the size of structures, so the structures will not be big enough to provide shelter to protesters.
They want the "City of Vancouver By-Law No. 10252 and sections 71A and 71B of By-Law No. 2849" declared unconstitutional.
They are represented by Clive Ansley of Courtney, B.C.