Today a judge dismissed the charges against more than 90 demonstrators arrested last October when Occupy Chicago made two attempts to set up an encampment in Grant Park. More than 300 protesters were arrested in the park last year and charged with violating city park curfew. Most opted to for a community service deal with the city, but the National Lawyers Guild filed suit on behalf of 92 demonstrators to dismiss the charges on grounds that they were unconstitutional.
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"We are under the impression that the whole country is a free speech zone," said Michael Zytkow, a 26-year-old organizer for Occupy Charlotte. "We were bothered by the idea of any government-designated playground."
Carol Sobel, a lawyer from Santa Monica, California, who co-chairs the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, asked, "Who'd want to use it? You're talking to yourself."
Her group works to push back against what it views as government attempts to stifle dissent.
From Boise to Nashvile, the movement faces an unconstitutional legal siege
WASHINGTON -- The United Nations envoy for freedom of expression is drafting an official communication to the U.S. government demanding to know why federal officials are not protecting the rights of Occupy demonstrators whose protests are being disbanded -- sometimes violently -- by local authorities.
“This is the First Amendment come alive,” said Wylie M. Stecklow, a Manhattan civil rights attorney working with the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee. “Nobody is in this for a fee.”
Dear Ms. Gould:
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) applauds you and the Brooklyn College Political Science Department for your support of an open discussion of the growing campus movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Your stand is especially important in light of the recent attempts to intimidate you and the department into canceling the event. Efforts to pressure the Brooklyn College administration to cancel the panel run contrary to the values enshrined in the First Amendment and they are an affront to the principles of academic freedom.
One clear example of the targeting of animal activists is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2006. The AETA amended and expanded the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA). The AETA makes “damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise” or “intentionally plac[ing] a person in fear of death or serious bodily injury” federal crimes of terrorism.