The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Steve Smith, 212-549-2666,

ACLU Calls Revised RNC Rules a Victory for Free Speech


Today the city of Cleveland Board of Control approved revised regulations for the Republican National Convention that resulted from negotiations between the ACLU of Ohio and Cleveland officials. A federal judge ruled that the original restrictions placed an unconstitutional burden on speech and assembly and ordered the city to revise them through mediation with the ACLU.

"This agreement prevents the 2016 RNC from being defined by an unnecessary conflict between freedom and security," said Christine Link, executive director for the ACLU of Ohio. "The RNC offers a unique stage to groups from all sides of the political spectrum to lift their voices to a national audience. The new rules ensures that people have meaningful opportunities to express themselves on some of our most important national issues."

The agreement decreases the size of the Event Zone, an area designated for special restrictions on public assembly and items people may carry. The official parade route has been altered to increase the visibility of demonstrators. The times available to apply for parade permits have also been extended.

"Given the limited time before the convention arrives in Cleveland, this settlement is a significant improvement from what the city had previously offered," Link said. "Both the city and the courts recognized that these rules needed to be changed. This is an important victory for everyone who wants to take an active role in the decisions that affect their lives."

Judge Dan Polster, who conducted the court-ordered mediation, will retain oversight of the agreement.

"Participation and political expression are at the foundation of our democracy. We will remain watchful during the convention to assure that everyone's rights are protected," Link said.

This release can be found here:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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