For Immediate Release


Alison Roh Park, CCR, 212-614-6480,
Sara Mullen, ACLU, 215-592-1513 ext. 122,

Rights Groups Sue Authorities for First Amendment Violations in Advance of G-20 Summit

Attorneys Call Denial of Permits to Activist Groups Bogus

PITTSBURGH, PA - Today, the Center
for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) filed
a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of
Pennsylvania on behalf of groups seeking to hold peaceful demonstrations in
downtown Pittsburgh where the Group of 20 summit (G-20) will take place later
this month. The complaint charges the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of
Homeland Security, the City of Pittsburgh
and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with
violating the groups' constitutional rights to free speech.

The plaintiffs include: CODEPINK; Pittsburgh Women For Peace; 3 Rivers Climate Convergence; Thomas Merton
Center; Pittsburgh Outdoor Artists; Bail Out The
and G-6 Billion.
The complaint was filed after repeated efforts to negotiate with the city
regarding the permits.

"The City is unjustified in denying permits to these peaceful
protestors," said CCR Vice President
Jules Lobel
. "We hope the court will uphold and protect the
core American values of free speech and the right to dissent."

"Despite working in good faith for weeks to resolve G-20
demonstration permits with the City of Pittsburgh
and federal officials, demonstration organizers can wait no longer and will now
pursue permit remedies in Federal Court," said ACLU-PA Legal Director Witold "Vic" Walczak.

"This is a struggle for our First Amendment rights," said Francine Porter, CODEPINK Pittsburgh
"Refusing these permits takes away our right to
educate the public about the G-20 agenda and how it relates to war, war funding
and war's impact across the globe on mostly women and children."


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

"The G-20 is gathering in the midst of a worldwide economic
crisis," said Molly Rush, co-founder of
the Thomas Merton
in Pittsburgh. "Unrestrained profit-making
by financial institutions and the deregulation and privatization of public
resources have led to disaster for the vast majority of the world's
people. Yet the people lack a voice in the proceedings."

The complaint alleges violations of the Constitution based on the
following actions by the defendants:  1) refusal to issue permits to
demonstrators for the use of Point State Park during the week of the G-20; 2)
failure to issue permits for First-Amendment-protected activities in
Pittsburgh's downtown; 3) refusal to issue a permit for a march by the
Thomas Merton Center within a reasonable distance from the Convention Center on
one day during the summit; and 4) refusal to allow demonstrators permission to
stay overnight in several Pittsburgh parks.

To read the full complaint, click

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to defending and expanding
individual rights and personal freedoms throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. Visit


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Share This Article

More in: