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New lawsuits take on RNC protest plans

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A month after a federal judge turned down a protest group's bid to get closer to the Republican National Convention site in St.…

A month after a federal judge turned down a protest group’s bid to get closer to the Republican National Convention site in St. Paul, more demonstrators are suing the city over similar issues.

City police officials have touted their free-speech arrangements as being unusually accommodating for a political convention. A 180,000-square foot space across from the Xcel Energy Center will be set up for demonstrators, complete with a stage and a microphone, according to the Associated Press. The city is awarding in a lottery system 50-minute time slots to speakers at the microphone.

It may be innovative, but the plan strikes the protest groups who have filed two new lawsuit as unduly restrictive, according to the AP. The wire service quoted attorney Bruce Nestor, who represents some of the protesters, saying, "The city gets to manage free speech in the name of facilitating free speech."

The parties in both cases are due for a hearing on Aug. 25, according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch Web site.