Cleveland Loosens GOP Convention Restrictions

     (CN) — The Cleveland Board of Control approved new rules Wednesday governing the Republican National Convention after negotiations with the ACLU of Ohio.
     U.S. District Judge Dan Polster ruled that the original rules governing the issuance of parade and park-use permits, use of the official speaker’s platform, and prohibitions on certain items in a wide area around the convention venue unconstitutionally burdened free speech and assembly.
     The revised rules decrease the size of the “event zone,” the special area around the Quicken Loans Arena designated for restrictions on public assembly and items that people may carry.
     The board also altered the official parade route around the arena to increase the visibility of demonstrators, and extended the time allowed to apply for a parade permit.
     Each parade route permit will allow the holder 50 minutes to complete their procession, but the city said it will “work with groups to permit sufficient time to complete their procession if, given the size of the group, 50 minutes is not adequate.”
     The ACLU called the revisions a victory for free speech.
     “This agreement prevents the 2016 RNC from being defined by an unnecessary conflict between freedom and security,” said Christine Link, executive director for the ACLU of Ohio. “The RNC offers a unique stage to groups from all sides of the political spectrum to lift their voices to a national audience. The new rules ensure that people have meaningful opportunities to express themselves on some of our most important national issues.”
     Given the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s presidential nomination, the GOP Convention is expected to attract huge numbers of anti-Trump protestors and pro-Trump supporters, and the city is braced for violence.
     Trump has predicted riots if the GOP tries to deny him the nomination. But some in the GOP, dissatisfied with his candidacy and his sinking poll numbers, plan to contest his nomination by potentially using the RNC committee rules committee to try and pass a rule freeing all delegates to vote for whomever they want.
     The chairman of Colorado’s Republican Party has announced he will seek police protection for his delegation at the convention because he has been flooded with threatening emails and calls from Trump supporters since his state backed Ted Cruz in the delegate race.

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