January 6, 2012

Portland responds to Occupy lawsuit

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The city of Portland says a lawsuit filed by Occupy Maine protesters demanding a permanent free speech zone in Lincoln Park is contrary to prior case law, according to a legal filing submitted today.

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Occupy Maine tents stand in Lincoln Park in this Dec. 8, 2011, photo.

AP

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The City Council voted 8-1 on Dec. 15 to order the protesters to leave, citing city ordinances that restrict overnight use of city parks.

The demonstrators, who are protesting economic inequality in the country, responded with a civil rights lawsuit saying the city ordinances are contrary to the First Amendment of the Constitution and therefore unenforceable.

The city, in its legal brief filed today in Cumberland County Superior Court, says numerous city, state and federal cases support the city's position, including Clark v. Community for Creative Non-violence. The decisions say a city can regulate the use of city property so that a broad range of citizens can use public facilities, not one group exclusively, and so that health and fire safety codes are adhered to, according to a release by the city.

Click here to read the city's legal position.

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