MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a lawsuit Monday against Hennepin County for allegedly restricting Occupy Minnesota protester’s right to free speech.
The ACLU’s complaint says that the county’s set of winter restrictions for Minneapolis’ Government Plaza, which protesters have been occupying since early October, were written in direct response to protester’s efforts. The complaint also says that the rules are too broad, the result of unconstitutional decision making and are inconsistent with how the county treats other groups.
Charles Samuelson, the executive director of the ACLU-MN, said that Americans encourage peaceful protesters in other countries, but are quick to denounce their tactics on their own soil.
“In the United States, we have celebrated protesters occupying spaces around the globe during the Arab Spring, yet we are quick to criticize the Occupy Movement for utilizing some of the same methods of expression,” he said.
Under the county’s rules, the protesters are not allowed to stay at the plaza when temperatures fall below 25 degrees or when there is heavy snow. They are also not allowed to put up signs or leave their belonging unattended.