C. Aluka Berry / AP file
Occupy Columbia protesters sang together before they were arrested Nov. 16 on the South Carolina State House grounds in Columbia.
Occupy Columbia protesters can return to the South Carolina State House grounds in Columbia after a state judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Gov. Nikki Haley's attempted eviction of the movement.
NBC station WIS of Columbia reports that the order, which Circuit Judge Alison Lee signed Wednesday morning, will let the protesters bring sleeping bags and tents onto the capital grounds around the clock for the next 10 days. She said the protesters were likely to win a court challenge of the eviction on free speech grounds.
A hearing for a permanent injunction is scheduled for next week, The State newspaper reported.
Haley declared last week that protesters would be arrested if they were on the grounds after 6 p.m. After the arrests of 19 people on Nov. 16 led to widespread criticism, the order was amended to allow protesters to stay on the grounds all night as long as they didn't sleep or use sleeping bags.
The decision comes the same day that several Occupy Columbia protesters who were arrested last week for refusing to leave the grounds filed a lawsuit Haley and state public safety officials, The Associated Press reported.