Colin Moynihan, © 2016 New York Times News Service
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued the city of Cleveland on Tuesday, saying that it was violating protesters’ free speech rights with undue restrictions on demonstrations during next month’s Republican National Convention.
At issue are a set of special rules that the city adopted on May 25 that are meant to be in effect during the convention, which runs from July 18-21, and cover an area of about 3 square miles in downtown Cleveland, referred to by the city as an “event zone.”
The lawsuit challenges a number of the restrictions, including limits on street marches to 50 minutes per group and to a single approved route over a bridge, and on three of the four convention days to the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., hours before the major convention activities. The suit also contests the city’s refusal to issue any park-use permits for the event zone, except for art and public installations in two small parks.
“Severe limits imposed by the city on the rights of the people to freely assemble and to express their political and other views are arbitrary, unduly restrictive, and without rational justification,” lawyers for the ACLU wrote in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on behalf of a pro-Donald Trump group, an anti-poverty group and a homeless advocacy group. The lawsuit said Cleveland was also “further trampling First Amendment rights by delaying the processing of applications for…