ACLU sues on behalf of potential convention protesters
DENVER – Colorado’s office of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a pre-emptive lawsuit on behalf of potential protesters during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.The suit seeks to put pressure on the U.S. Secret Service and the city of Denver to release plans for dealing with protesters and protect demonstrators from being unfairly separated from the convention.Cage-like areas for protesters – made of concrete barricades, netting and razor wire – were used to control crowds at the 2004 convention in Boston, and the ACLU said it hopes to prevent their use.”The ACLU has filed suit to ensure that law enforcement’s concerns about security are not allowed to override or undermine the First Amendment right of the people,” ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said in a release. “We are asking the federal district court in Denver to take immediate steps to ensure that what happened in Boston in 2004 will not be repeated in Denver this summer.”The suit names a dozen local and national organizations as plaintiffs. It charges that officials are delaying the release of parade routes and demonstration zones.”If the plaintiffs are forced to wait for these government agencies to act, there will be not be enough time for a court to review unreasonable restrictions on First Amendment activity,” ACLU attorney Steven Zansberg said in the release. Zansberg has represented The Associated Press and other media.Denver’s city attorney David Fine said no one has been denied a parade permit.”You will see a vigorous exercise of free speech during the convention in many ways and in many places,” he said in a statement. “That being said, we will review the plaintiff’s papers and respond as necessary.”
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