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Federal, Denver officials seek to withhold details on DNC demonstration zones

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  1. Freedom of Information
Just how close will protesters get to delegates at the Democratic National Convention this summer? Federal and local officials in…

Just how close will protesters get to delegates at the Democratic National Convention this summer? Federal and local officials in Colorado are in court trying to keep it secret.

In response to an early-May ACLU lawsuit pushing for details about where precisely the protesters will be corraled, the U.S. Secret Service and Denver city officials are asking for a court order to save them from divulging much. It came out during a hearing Monday that a section of a parking lot near the front of the Pepsi Center will be designated protester-space, but whether that will put the delegates within talking distance was unclear.

Nor have authorities said what they will use to fence in the demonstrators.

In its suit, the ACLU argues that activists are constitutionally entitled to know where and how they’ll be penned in, to ensure their First Amendment rights will be protected, The Colorado Independent reports.

Government authorities say the details shouldn’t be made public for fear of threatening national security.

Apparently still fresh in the minds of civil rights proponents is the party’s last convention, in Boston in 2004, when protesters were penned into "Free Speech Zones" made of concrete barricades and chain-link fence.  Those zones were ruled unconstitutional, but the judge said the protestors had sued too late to allow changes to be made for the convention. That is why the ACLU filed suit in Denver in early May.