June 24, 2016; ABC News (Associated Press)
When a judge ruled last Thursday that Cleveland’s regulations over any protests to occur at the time of the GOP national convention were infringements of people’s constitutional right to free expression, he also ordered the city and the ACLU, which had brought the suit, to negotiate a settlement. By Friday, the judge mediating the situation declared that an agreement had been struck, though the details have not been released as of this writing.
The ACLU brought the suit on behalf of Organize Ohio and Citizens for Trump, both of which plan to hold protests and rallies on July 18th. The lawsuit said the city’s designated parade route for protest marches was unreasonably isolated from any of the action, that the city’s 3.3-square-mile “event zone” was too large, and that rules against everyday items like bottles, cans, and backpacks within that zone were unreasonable because they interfered with the rights of those who live or work in the area. And, indeed, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless joined the lawsuit, saying the list of prohibited items included things that homeless people normally make use of.
Since so much of civic life seems to be politically polarized these days, it should be noted that Cleveland’s mayor is a Democrat, and its city council members are all Democrats, except for one who is a member of the Green Party.
The crowd for the event, which is due to run from July 18th through July 22nd, is expected to attract 50,000 to 100,000 people.—Ruth McCambridge