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Lawsuit filed Attacking Miami Ordinance used During FTAA Protests

WASHINGTON - February 4 - A civil suit filed today in federal court calls for an emergency temporary restraining order against the City of Miami's unconstitutional restrictions on the right to political protest

Miami, FL - A civil lawsuit was filed today in federal court to challenge a controversial ordinance passed by Miami City Commission days prior to protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meetings in November 2003. The ordinance was used to chill First Amendment activities during mass demonstrations against the FTAA. The lawsuit also attacks two other Miami ordinances regulating demonstrations on public streets and sidewalks as unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment rights.

Attorneys working with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Mass Defense Committee and Miami Activist Defense (MAD) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiff Lake Worth Global Justice Group. Members of the plaintiff group were subject to unlawful searches, detentions and arrests during the FTAA protests. The defendants include the City of Miami, City Manager Joe Arriola, and Miami Police Chief John Timoney.

"Lake Worth Global Justice members were harassed and arrested by police during the FTAA protests," said Cara Jennings, a member of the plaintiff group. "We were not only stopped and detained, but we also witnessed numerous people being prevented from engaging in lawful protest activities in public spaces around Miami." [ Read more... ]

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