Cleveland: "First Amendment zones" will fence protesters far away from RNC

The city of Cleveland has revealed its crowd control plan for next month's Republican National Convention, a heavily policed, fenced off 3.3 square-mile "event zone" -- the size of Baghdad's Green Zone -- with fenced-off protest areas far from the convention itself.

Though this sort of measure is par for the course in contemporary political events -- I remember them being especially controversial and aggressive during the GW Bush years, after the Battle of Seattle -- the normalization of banning protests at the site of political party conventions has led to a steady increase in the separation, with the RNC forming a new peak of control for political segregation.

ACLU Ohio has filed a lawsuit to reduce the extent of the event zone.

To the groups likely to protest the Republicans, that’s not enough. “What the city has done here is draw a gigantic blanket area that covers most of downtown Cleveland,” says Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which has filed a lawsuit hoping to reduce the Event Zone’s size and restrictions. “When the government takes the extreme step of limiting speech and assembly in any way, the burden is on them to justify that those restrictions are reasonable,” Bonham says. “Here there are no alternatives.”

Cleveland Will Create a City Within a City to Keep the RNC Civil [Sam Lubell/Wired]

Notable Replies

  1. This isn't a First Amendment issue. This is a Public Safety issue. Imagine how many people could get hurt if some protesters started shooting down arguments!

    I thank God every day that Ohio is an Open Carry state, so that us Patriots and other Constitutional Conservatives can protect ourselves from the Bill of Rights' lesser Amendments.

  2. This is the best case for civil disobedience I've heard in a long time. Four years, to be exact.

  3. I wouldn't worry about it. Republicans get all fired up when the government tries to infringe on constitutional rights around them. I'm sure they won't let this stand.

  4. First Amendment Zone is an oxymoron.

  5. Assholes can stand right outside a Planned Paremthood and terrorize women going in because it's free speech, but free speech in this case gets segregated? WTF?

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