Cleveland, ACLU still negotiating details of Republican National Convention protest restrictions

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 18:53:35-04

The City of Cleveland is still working out the details of their agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union after a federal judge found its restrictions on Republican National Convention protesters were unconstitutional last week.

The new agreement may not be finished until after July 4, according to Christine Link, the executive director of the ACLU of Ohio.

The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 27 protest groups frustrated by the city's "extreme" restrictions.

Link said a federal judge must sign off on proposed changes to the RNC protest rules and restrictions before they will be made public, but said the city has agreed to several concessions.

The new so-called "event zone" will be smaller and its perimeter "jagged" in order to give to protesters access to city parks and other downtown areas, according to Link.

The city's parade route will still begin on the west end of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, but instead of turning south at Ontario Avenue, protesters will continue towards downtown.

The specific streets and exact length of the route were among the details still being debated Monday. 

Link said the city also agreed to add an additional time slot for protest groups to march and to create time in-between marches for protesters to disperse.

Link said she believes the changes will make the convention more safe and secure.

"The event zone was giant. The parade route was miniscule. . .  to the point that we really thought it would it really hurt the ability to keep things organized and calm," she said.

Link criticized the city's failure to make changes they were forced to by a federal judge.

"The city, I thought, wasted a lot of time with their unbending posture on this. . . which was a little surprising because the law in this area is not unsettled," she said.

A City of Cleveland  spokesperson declined to comment on the RNC protest agreement until the court approves the new deal.