ACLU Calls Revised RNC Rules a Victory for Free Speech

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
June 30, 2016 10:30 am

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CLEVELAND — Today the city of Cleveland Board of Control approved revised regulations for the Republican National Convention that resulted from negotiations between the ACLU of Ohio and Cleveland officials. A federal judge ruled that the original restrictions placed an unconstitutional burden on speech and assembly and ordered the city to revise them through mediation with the ACLU.

“This agreement prevents the 2016 RNC from being defined by an unnecessary conflict between freedom and security,” said Christine Link, executive director for the ACLU of Ohio. “The RNC offers a unique stage to groups from all sides of the political spectrum to lift their voices to a national audience. The new rules ensures that people have meaningful opportunities to express themselves on some of our most important national issues.”

The agreement decreases the size of the Event Zone, an area designated for special restrictions on public assembly and items people may carry. The official parade route has been altered to increase the visibility of demonstrators. The times available to apply for parade permits have also been extended.

“Given the limited time before the convention arrives in Cleveland, this settlement is a significant improvement from what the city had previously offered,” Link said. “Both the city and the courts recognized that these rules needed to be changed. This is an important victory for everyone who wants to take an active role in the decisions that affect their lives.”

Judge Dan Polster, who conducted the court-ordered mediation, will retain oversight of the agreement.

“Participation and political expression are at the foundation of our democracy. We will remain watchful during the convention to assure that everyone’s rights are protected,” Link said.

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