The public demonstration area at this summer's Democratic National Convention will be 50,000 square feet in Lot A at the Pepsi Center, and surrounded by a "transparent and sound-transparent fence," an attorney for the protesters said today.Sealed in plastic and left out in the sun like a rancid bologna sandwich. They're not gonna like that. Guantanamo on the Platte!
Steven Zansberg said the city disclosed the information to the ACLU and other protest groups prior to a court hearing this afternoon. . . .Can't wait to hear what Glenn Spagnuolo thinks of the plan.
The city did not give the precise location of the area within Lot A, which Zansberg said is about 350,000 square feet.
The city has said it will provide information by June 23 on the precise location, and any restrictions placed on protesters.
The city and the U.S. Secret Service want to provide some of the information to attorneys for the protesters under a protective order, meaning they could not share it with the protesters of [sic] the public. For security reasons, they do not want to publicly release the height of the fence or how close the area will be to delegates entering and exiting the arena.
Lawyers for the protesters opposed that idea, and they're asking for a hearing on the issue.
Attorneys also are studying a schedule to argue the merits of any restrictions, such as the type of fencing, what can be brought into the area, the type of security, and any limitations that would be placed on them. Attorneys for the protesters are concerned that restrictions might violate their First Amendment rights to free speech.
In addition, the city is scheduled to release the route for any parades during the convention on Thursday. It also will begin processing requests for groups to participate in parades.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced by far the largest fundraising campaign in its 88-year history Monday, eying a dramatic expansion of its work on social justice issues in relatively conservative states such as Texas and Florida.
The campaign's goal is $335 million, with $258 million already raised through behind-the-scenes solicitations over the past year, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.
Major donors include billionaire financier George Soros, who gave $12 million through his Open Society Institute.
"The purpose is to build a civil liberties infrastructure in the middle of the country—where battleground states are often under-resourced and our efforts are most needed," Romero said.
He cited issues such as immigrants' rights, gay rights, police brutality and opposition to the death penalty as causes that would be pursued vigorously as the ACLU expanded in heartland states. At present, the ACLU's biggest offices are in the Northeast, the Pacific states and Illinois; targets for expansion include Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and Tennessee, with even the smallest ACLU affiliates in line to get extra funding to hire new attorneys and launch new advocacy programs.
Romero said the ACLU envisions more than doubling the staffs of its Texas and Florida operations, and its full-time work force nationwide—including its headquarters and state affiliates—would increase from roughly 800 to about 1,000. Numerous new satellite offices would be opened.