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Court says Occupy Boise protesters can restore tent city in Idaho

Published time: June 13, 2014 19:04
Occupy Wall Street participants take part in a protest to mark the movement's second anniversary in New York, September 17, 2013 (AFP Photo)

Occupy Wall Street participants take part in a protest to mark the movement's second anniversary in New York, September 17, 2013 (AFP Photo)

A federal judge in Idaho agreed this week that officials have no right to keep protesters from demonstrating on the lawn of the state capitol building in Boise.

United States District Judge Lynn Winmill’s Wednesday decision declares that efforts in 2012 to remove protesters from a localized Occupy Wall Street offshoot were unconstitutional.

As that movement began to gain momentum across the US in late 2011, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a law that enacted a handful of rules concerning Occupy Boise protesters wishing to protest on state property, including provisions that outlawed anything on the capitol property considered to be camping.

Judge Winmill wrote this week that a lawsuit filed on behalf of the protesters in 2012 is now moot since the laws were later rescinded, but he nevertheless agreed to make a decision requested by Occupy Boise that could open the door for future protests like the ones that were previously outlawed.

As part of the ruling, Winmill issued a permanent injunction that hereby blocks the state from removing protest tents because he said such conduct “targets political speech for suppression.”

“The defendants’ policy of enforcing I.C. §§ 67-1613–1613A to remove symbolic and assembly tents on State grounds or to prevent protesters from staffing tent protests around the clock violates the First Amendment,” the judge ruled, meaning Idaho officials might be barred from going after demonstrators in the future engaged in politically-focused protests outside the capitol or other state property.

"This has been a long and costly battle over liberties that the State should treasure, not suppress," American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Ritchie Eppink wrote in an official statement this week. "Let's hope this permanent injunction gets our elected officials to stop and think, and to start welcoming dissent, rather than trying to squelch it."

“They may restore the tent city. The point is, the court found Occupy Boise was exercising its legal right to protest on state property,” he told Reuters.

Judge Winmill’s ruling was announced the same week that officials in new York City agreed to pay almost a total of $600,000 to settle a lawsuit related to the wrongful arrests of 14 protesters at the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan.

Comments (5)


Luis Munoz 14.06.2014 01:59

These movements are a wasted attempt. Their energies would be better served researching Americas true history. The Act of 1871 would be a great start. Don't take it to the streets. Take it to the courts. To all my Americanski brothers, we've never been a free people. You know what our founders vision was?? A Nation of Sovereigns were the people are the supreme authority. But wait theres an effort to lable those who use that appropriate term are called terrorist. No Governments are Sovereign that is why they are subject to change by the will of the people.


Bohdan Chmielnicki 14.06.2014 00:07

Noting agains Russia, but, wonder if democratic government of RF would allow its citizens to protest to the degree the US govenment does.


Joshua 13.06.2014 20:30

Raymond 13.06.2014 19:23

The protesting is great but setting up those camps will only bring more homeless people and the trouble will start over once again.


I cannot believe you just said this... This is one disgusting comment and you should feel bad for saying it.

View all comments (5)
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