March Permit Officially Denied!! (Indymedia)

Mike Friedman mikedf at
Mon Feb 10 13:01:19 MST 2003

March Permit Officially Denied!!
by Newsday 1:01pm Mon Feb 10 '03 (Modified on 1:29pm Mon Feb 10 '03)

A federal judge in Manhattan has denied antiwar demonstrators the
right to march in front of the U.N.

A federal judge in Manhattan has denied antiwar demonstrators the
right to march in front of the U.N.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones concluded that heightened
security concerns posed by up to 100,000 protesters would threaten
the public safety and security of the U.N.

In her 26-page ruling, Jones said that the First Amendment guaranteed
the right to protest but did not ensure the right to march.

She noted that demonstrators could hold a stationary rally sanctioned
by the city at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, located at 47th Street Between
First and Second Avenues. An overflow crowd could gather two blocks
north along 49th Street between First and Second.

Spokespersons for the antiwar group, United for Peace and Justice,
said the group wanted to hold a rally and march past the United
Nations on Saturday. They wanted to gather at the plaza, then march
down First Avenue toward 42nd Street, going across town on 42nd
Street and turning uptown on Seventh Avenue to head to Central Park,
where a rally would be held.

However, Jones cited heightened security concerns as a reason the
city was justified in denying a permit.

"The court finds that the heightened scurity concerns posed by an
unorganized large-scale march threatens the city's interest in
maintaining the public safety," she said.

She said that the city had denied permits for all demonstrations
since September 11 and said that the UN was a "uniquely sensitive"
area, noting that it had once been targeted by terrorists.

Lawyers for the New York Civil Liberties Union, who sued the city on
behalf of the antiwar group, argued that the city had granted permits
to other large groups for marches such as the St. Patrick's Day
Parade and the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Christopher Dunn, a lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union,
said the group would immediately appeal Jones's ruling.

"There is no question in our mind that the First Amendment entitles
people to march in the street to protest their opposition to a
possible American war in Iraq," he said. "We believe this decision is
wrong and intend to appeal it immediately."
Michael Friedman
Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York

Molecular Laboratory
Department of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY  10024
(212) 313-7646

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