Denver: DNC protest zone will be surrounded by 2 fences |

Denver: DNC protest zone will be surrounded by 2 fences

Sara Burnett
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” The designated protest zone at the Democratic National Convention will be surrounded by two fences, placed eight feet apart, that will create a buffer between protesters inside the first fence and people outside, such as delegates.

In documents filed in federal court, the Secret Service said that if delegates walk directly from the security checkpoint to the Pepsi Center, they will pass “within 200 to 400 feet” of the protest zone, which will take up about 50,000 square feet in parking Lot A.

The view will be unobstructed and will be lit at night, the documents state.

Delegates are free to get closer to the so-called “public viewing area” if they choose, according to the court filing. They will be allowed no closer to the people inside, however, than eight feet.

“Delegates may walk and stand virtually anywhere on the Pepsi Center grounds … and their ability to see and hear messages conveyed by persons congregating in the Public Viewing Area will vary depending on where on the Pepsi Center grounds they choose to walk or stand,” the document states.

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Denver officials already have said people inside the protest zone will not be able to hand leaflets or other information to people outside the zone.

The court filings address only the protest zone at the Pepsi Center. The city has said there also will be a protest zone at Invesco Field at Mile High on the final night of the DNC, when Sen. Barack Obama is expected to give his speech accepting the Democratic nomination.

Details of that protest zone have not been publicly released.

The protest zone, along with the city’s designated parade route, are at the heart of an ongoing First Amendment lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city and Secret Service.

The ACLU represents 13 protest groups, who say restrictions placed on the public due to security concerns violates First Amendment rights to free speech.

The two sides are back in court this afternoon for a pre-trial conference, where they will discuss disclosure of information and a possible visit to the protest zone site.

A trial on the issues is scheduled for July 29.

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