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Protesters Sue City For Right To Protest Genocide In Palestine

Above photo: Coalition to March on the DNC demands permits for protest at Democratic National Convention. Fight Back! News/staff.

Chicago, IL – Groups supporting Palestine are suing Chicago to ensure that Joe Biden “can hear us and see us” at the Democratic National Convention in August, sats Kobi Guillory, spokesperson for the Coalition to March on the DNC.

When the convention opens at the United Center, August 19, the coalition is adamant that they get the attention they deserve.

Guillory states, “As the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza continues unabated – with over 32,000 killed, almost all by U.S. bombs and missiles – we must march. This is the party in power, the party of Genocide Joe Biden. Biden could stop the war with one phone call. He refuses to take action, and so we must protest.”

A press conference was held at Federal Plaza, March 22, with Attorney Chris Williams, who acted on behalf of three clients: the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Chicago Anti-War Committee. All of the organizations are part of the coalition.

The three organizations had submitted a total of four permits. Williams pointed out, “The city made no effort to find a narrowly tailored restriction on protected political speech, offering only one alternative route, three miles from the DNC.”

The opening paragraphs of the complaint said, “Defendants unconstitutionally denied Plaintiffs and their members’ right to engage in political speech through peaceful assembly on public forums, thereby violating their First Amendment rights.”

Tens of thousands of Palestinians to march on the DNC

Leading the press conference Friday morning was Hatem Abudayyeh, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) National Chair. Abudayyeh has become a familiar face as his organization has been at the forefront of the Coalition for Justice in Palestine. Chicago continues to see protests of thousands of Palestinians and their supporters on a weekly basis, six months into the war on civilians waged by the regime in Tel Aviv.

Speaking from the Palestinian community about the protests at the convention, Abudayyeh said, “We mean business.”

Explaining that remark, Abudayyeh continued, “I am guaranteeing tens of thousands of people in the streets with thousands of Palestinian flags, with Palestinians from all walks of life, from all over the country.”

Lawsuit, pressure campaign and a pledge to march without a permit

Williams, of the Workers’ Law Office, also said, “The city’s ordinance at issue is an unconstitutional restriction on political speech on its face and in how it is being applied. And these are not just theoretical threats to First Amendment speech. The city has threatened to seek potentially thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time if organizations even seek a permit that the city interprets as duplicative under the ordinance, creating a serious chilling effect discouraging political speech at the DNC.”

According to Zhenya Polozova, a co-chair with the Anti-War Committee, “In addition to initiating a federal lawsuit to protect our right to protest, we’re calling on Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to stand with the people and grant us a permit to have a family-friendly protest within sight and sound of the DNC. We are urging everyone in support of this campaign to call and email the Chicago Department of Transportation and the mayor’s chief of staff. More information can be found on our website, marchondnc2024.org.”

Polozova continued, “Whether or not the permits are granted, we will be marching on the DNC, and we invite all those who stand in solidarity with Palestine and with working and oppressed people to join us on August 19 and 22 in Chicago where the whole world will be watching.”

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