ACLU Sues Cleveland Over RNC Demonstration Restrictions

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a complaint in federal court, Tuesday, against the city of Cleveland.   The ACLU wants the city to back-off of what it calls "unlawful restrictions" on demonstrators at next month's Republican National Convention.  

Last month, the city of Cleveland issued its rules for protests and marches at the RNC.  The American Civil Liberties Union quickly objected, pointing to what it called a number of Constitutional violations. For example, demonstrators will only be allowed to parade across the Lorain-Carnegie bridge which, the ACLU contends, most convention attendees won't even see.  Plus, the city has designated a so-called "event zone," covering most of downtown.  Inside that zone, where thousands of people live, there's an extensive no-carry list, including tennis balls, light bulbs and more than six-feet of string.

ACLU General Counsel Susan Becker says that led to some frustrating negotiations with the city last week.

"We had a meeting with them that didn't yield anything," she recalls,  "so we're really forced to file this complaint.  It's accompanied by a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, asking the judge to immediately take a number of actions."

Which include reducing the size of the event zone, and bringing the protest route closer to the Q where the convention will take place.  The ACLU is asking Judge James Gwin to begin a court proceeding this week in hopes of settling the matter before the start of the RNC, which is a little over a month away.  There was no reaction to the lawsuit from a Cleveland spokesperson, who said the city does not comment on on-going litigation.

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