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  /  News   /  Demonstrators sue Milwaukee over RNC protest routes

Demonstrators sue Milwaukee over RNC protest routes

(NewsNation) — Less than two weeks before the Republican National Convention begins, the host city, Milwaukee, is ensnared in a legal battle with a group of demonstrators who want to protest in earshot of the event.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin sued the city of Milwaukee in federal court last month, alleging that the city’s plans for demonstrations during the convention violate the constitutional protest rights of the group “Coalition to March on the RNC 2024.”

In its complaint, the group said it applied for a parade permit over a year ago but that the city never approved the request and instead passed an ordinance that limits demonstrators to an undisclosed parade route in a 90-square-block area around Fiserv Forum, which is a different part of the venue. 

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“Protesters have a constitutional right to demonstrate within ‘sight and sound’ of an event they’re protesting, and these additional rules will render them unseen and unheard,” the ACLU said in a statement. 

The Coalition to March on the RNC is made up of more than 40 groups planning to protest the first day of the convention with “an assembly with several speakers at a location within sight and sound of the RNC venues,” court documents state. 

The group is asking a federal judge to find that the city’s “extraordinary event ordinance” for the RNC is unconstitutional and seek a temporary restraining order prohibiting the city from enforcing portions of the ordinance during the RNC.

Less than a week ago, the group also added the director of the United States Secret Service to their suit. 

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They alleged the Secret Service “planned its ‘credentialed zone’ extending far beyond what Plaintiff or any news reporting expected, and it only became clear at that time that Plaintiff’s claims and requested relief to this Court must also be ordered applicable to the United States Secret Service,” court records state. 

Mediation efforts between the city and the groups failed last month, and the case went back to court for adjudication. 

But time is running out with the convention slated to run July 15 to 18.

City spokesperson Jeff Fleming said last month that they are looking to resolve the matter quickly, reported The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

“Our goal is to give people a full opportunity to express their First Amendment rights, and we’re also interested in making sure all events in and around the convention are safe, so we aim to achieve both of those goals,” he told the outlet.