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Judge rules Milwaukee protest group cannot march through RNC security zone

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//July 9, 2024//

(Deposit Photos)

Judge rules Milwaukee protest group cannot march through RNC security zone

By: Bridgetower Media Newswires//July 9, 2024//

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By Tristan Hernandez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
With a week until the kickoff of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, a federal judge has ruled that a protest group that sued the city cannot cross into the “hard” security perimeter to complete its planned march.
The ruling is a blow to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Coalition to March on the RNC 2024, which last month filed a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee alleging city protest plans for the RNC violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The Coalition members have the right to march in protest of the RNC. Their right to do so lies at the heart of the First Amendment. But the First Amendment does not allow them to protest or parade in any way they choose,” U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig wrote in his ruling.
Ludwig wrote that the defendants, which included the city and the U.S. Secret Service, demonstrated that they balanced the protesters’ right to express themselves with “legitimate security and other governmental interests.” He said that the majority of the security plan was reasonable and a valid restriction on free speech.
Parties have 48 hours to respond to the ruling with whether they want to move forward with further litigation.
The ruling is a culmination of a month-long lawsuit that the coalition had hoped would result in a court order allowing the group to march a different route than the one the city had designated. Their planned route did not go along the official parade route and would have crossed through the hard security perimeter where credentials are required at Kilbourn Avenue and King Drive.
Coalition organizers rejected the city’s demonstration route, arguing it was not within “sight and sound” of Fiserv Forum, which they hoped to march near at noon on July 15. The city’s demonstration route starts at Zeidler Union Square and is close to the Baird Center, where media will be located.
Ludwig did rule in favor of the ACLU in one instance, saying the city and the Commissioner of Public Works Jerrel Kruschke could not approve speaker and demonstration applications on the basis of an applicant’s criminal history.
The Coalition to March on the RNC plans to hold a press conference Tuesday in response to the ruling.
This article was first published by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was republished with permission.


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