NYCLU and CCR Sue City to Secure Central Park Permit for Protest Rally During Republican Convention

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
August 18, 2004 12:00 am

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NEW YORK–The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights today announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of United for Peace and Justice to secure a permit for a protest rally in Central Park on August 29th. The lawsuit follows months of protracted negotiations and an unacceptable solution for a rally to accommodate an estimated 250,000 protesters on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

“This lawsuit is about protecting the First Amendment rights of individuals who are an integral part of the political process,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “The park belongs to everyone and it is unconstitutional to restrict its use for peaceful, political protest. We believe that in rejecting United for Peace and Justice’s request for a permit to rally on the Great Lawn, the city is directly denying the group’s right to freedom of speech.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court, seeks a court order mandating the city to issue a permit for United for Peace and Justice to hold a rally in Central Park on the 29th.

The group filed its request to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park over a year ago, but the city denied the permit request late this spring. At the time, the New York City Parks Department indicated it was concerned about the impact of the rally on the recently restored grass. Since then, the mayor has indicated his concerns had to do with security.

For more information on the NYCLU’s efforts to protect free speech rights during the convention, go to

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