U.S. District Judge James Gwin struck down the rules set by the City of Cleveland for protesters at next month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The Ohio branch of the American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit last week against the City saying that restrictions on protesters within the “event zone” around Quicken Loans Arena were unconstitutional.
Anti-Trump protest group leaders were elated by the ruling. Larry Bressler with Organize Ohio said the limitation of protest parades to the Lorain-Carnegie bridge was ridiculous. Bresler said “the only people that would see it, see the march, are the marchers themselves.”
Tom Burke, coordinator for the Coalition to Stop Trump added, “The bridge goes over the river, there's piles of rocks, the public is nowhere to be seen, the media will be at the Republican convention and that's where the confrontation between our message and the Republican agenda needs to take place.”
Judge Gwin also took issue with the size of the event zone and called it "unduly large." He indicated that he was not satisfied with the times at parades could be held as well as the limitations placed on the use of city parks by protesters.
Anti-Trump protesters say that they want a separate protest parade zone to avoid violence. They want to go from a rally in Public Square over to Prospect Avenue and then back down to East 9th Street. Tom Burke told Channel 3’s Mike O’Mara that “on the one hand we want the police to show us respect and work with us. On the other hand, we think the people who are pro-Trump would do well to keep their distance.”
Larry Bresler nodded in agreement and said that the City of Cleveland’s plan “with the kind of assembly line of marches that was set up that would do more to encourage violence than doing it from different parts.”
Late this afternoon four of the protest group leaders met with Safety Director Mike McGrath and left City Hall without resolving any issues.
Meanwhile, lawyers with the ACLU and the City of Cleveland met with a Federal Mediator for several hours to discuss a possible settlement. If both sides can’t find an acceptable compromise, Judge Gwin will issue a court order mandating the protest zone security details for the RNC.