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NYCLU Brokers Deal Between City and Occupy Rochester to Protect Protest in City Park

 The New York Civil Liberties Union today brokered an agreement between the City of Rochester and the Occupy Rochester movement that will allow demonstrators to camp in Washington Square Park.

“This is a victory for the right to protest,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “We applaud the city and demonstrators for coming to the table and working out an agreement that respects the First Amendment and allows the general public to continue to enjoy Washington Square Park. With this new policy, they have set an example for other cities throughout the state and nation.” 

The agreement, which was approved today by the city and Occupy Rochester’s general assembly, permits the demonstrators to camp in the park at all hours subject to a set of rules meant to provide safety and allow all persons access to the park. Those rules include keeping tents within the grassy area to the south of the park’s central monuments; picking up trash; not using propane or gasoline heaters without Fire Department approval; no alcoholic beverages; and no weapons.

The agreement permits protestors to display signs and banners as long as they do not obstruct sidewalks or entrances to the park. The demonstrators can also use megaphones and other amplification devices.

Although the Occupy Rochester protestors have remained peaceful, in recent weeks more than 50 people have been arrested and charged with trespassing and violating a city ordinance setting park hours. This week, the NYCLU sent Mayor Thomas Richards a letter questioning the constitutionality of local ordinances being used to restrict the protests in Washington Square Park. Attorneys from the Legal Committee of the NYCLU’s Genesee Valley Chapter worked with city officials and the demonstrators to workout today’s agreement.

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  1. […] NYCLU Brokers Deal Between City and Occupy Rochester to Protect Protest in City Park (www.onthewilderside.com) […]

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