June 30, 2008

DNC Protest Groups File Bigger Lawsuit, Seek More Concessions

Give 'em an inch:
Groups wanting to protest at the Democratic National Convention filed new court challenges to Denver and the Secret Service's rules governing protests and parades, saying they violate the public's right to free speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents 13 protest groups, has filed an amended complaint in federal court asking U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger to order the city and Secret Service to make changes.
What are the protestors seeking?

Glad you asked:
Move the "public demonstration zone," a fenced area where groups would be allowed to protest, to be within sight and sound of delegates entering the Pepsi Center.

The zone is currently planned for a corner of Lot A, or VIP parking, farthest from the Pepsi Center entrance.

"No human voice, or any other sound ... can ever hope to reach a person at the entrance to the Pepsi Center from inside the Public Demonstration Zone," the ACLU wrote in court documents.
No sound perhaps, but the wafting patchouli/body odor might be overwhelming. Believe me, the delegates will know the protestors are there.

Allow protesters to hand out leaflets to delegates or others attending the convention who are within the "hard security zone," or secured perimeter, of the Pepsi Center. The city has said this will not be allowed, according to the ACLU lawsuit.
Nope. Security concerns aside, leaflets aren't "green." Come on protestors, get on the "green" bandwagon!
Allow parades to pass near the Pepsi Center and at times when delegates are present.

The city's approved parade route runs from near Civic Center, west on Colfax Avenue and north on Speer Boulevard, and ends at Seventh Street and Auraria Parkway, which is the entry and exit point for the public demonstration zone in Parking Lot A.

It does not include Chopper Circle or Ninth Street, as the protest groups want.

The city is allowing parades only between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Convention organizers have said delegates will arrive at the Pepsi Center around 3 p.m. each day.
Unlikely, though corraling thousands of protestors left over from the afternoon parades into the small public demonstration zone in Lot A or getting them to disperse before the Pepsi Center will be a tall task.
Approve alternate parade routes for two groups. One group wants to hold an immigration parade that would start at 29th Street and Speer and run south to Sunken Gardens park. The other wants to march from Civic Center to the federal courthouse at 18th and Stout Streets to urge the release of political prisoners. The city has denied both requests.

City officials and the Secret Service have said they must balance the rights of people to express themselves with the need for security during the DNC, scheduled for Aug. 25 to 28.

They insist the public will still have ample opportunity to communicate with the delegates and others attending the convention.

Krieger has scheduled an all-day hearing for July 29 to consider the ACLU's requests.
Protestors want "Parade-A-Palooza" and the city has bent over backwards allowing at least SIXTEEN hours of parades during the four days of the convention. That is all, apparently, not enough.

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